By Abby Henderson
The prosecution presented their closing arguments to the jury in this alleged gang-affiliation case.
Daniel Vallejo, the defendant, is charged with felony criminal threats, participation in a gang, driving under the influence after allegedly issuing death threats, and using gang-affiliated intimidation tactics after his car was towed from Burger Saloon in Woodland.
Judge Paul K. Richardson began by instructing the jurors on how to interpret what they had just witnessed throughout the trial. He explained the law that applies for each count the defendant was charged with and the job of the jury to establish the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies.
Judge Richardson urged the jury not to automatically reject the testimony from witnesses because of inconsistencies in their testimony, but rather to draw two or more reasonable conclusions from the evidence and deduce from there.
The prosecution, Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes, began and ended his hour-long closing argument after Judge Richardson was finished with his instructions to the jury.
Mr. Hasapes’s argument for a guilty verdict centered around the basic principle of gang activity: fear and intimidation. Especially with regard to the Norteño gang, the community’s perceptions of each gang member reflect on the whole of the gang. Any perceived weakness is a weakness for the gang as a whole.
Mr. Hasapes reiterated that Daniel Vallejo invoked the name “Norteño” to instill fear in the victims and ensure victory for the gang. He argued that just by saying the name in court helps ensure victory and notoriety for the gang.
The jury also received from Mr. Hasapes a detailed explanation of each count in this case, and all the evidence the prosecution brought to light to support each count charged against Mr. Vallejo.
Vallejo was charged with: Count 1 and 2, issuing a criminal threat; and Count 3, driving under the influence. During his DUI, Mr. Vallejo also refused to submit to a chemical test that would have determined his blood alcohol content at the time.
The defense will begin their closing argument as the trial extends into another day.