Police Search Lawful, Judge Rules Case to Proceed

By Jose Medina

SACRAMENTO – A Sacramento County Superior Court judge here late this week denied a motion to toss out a criminal case, as the defense claimed another judge previously made the mistake of allowing the case to proceed.

Kyle Lograsso appeared in Department 62 before Judge Michael A. Savage, on a “995 motion,” which asserts an earlier judge, Steve White, incorrectly allowed the case to move forward. The motion asked Judge Savage to partially or entirely dismiss the criminal complaint.

Lograsso’s defense attorney, Joshua Kurtz, represented Lograsso in the case.

In Lograsso’s case, Assistant Public Defender Joshua Kurtz argued police entered Lograsso’s apartment illegally, and that everything that happened with the case after their illegal observations should be suppressed and that the criminal complaint should be dismissed.

According to Kurtz, “police can enter a household if there is a belief, based on facts, of someone being in danger then they have the right to enter, that goes in line with the police’s community caretaking exception.”

As part of the community caretaking exception, police are allowed to enter a household if they have a reason to believe that someone inside is in danger and must be checked on.

Kurtz recalled, “Officer Houston testified at the preliminary hearing that they just wanted to make sure no one was inside Lograsso’s apartment.”

Kurtz further argued that by checking if someone was inside the apartment does not meet the standard of being able to legally enter into an apartment, insisting Officer Houston failed to say they had reason to believe that someone was in danger inside the apartment.

Judge Savage was unconvinced with Kurtz’s motion per Penal Code section 995. He believed that Judge White’s ruling was correct and that there is nothing that indicates that Judge White incorrectly moved the case forward.

Judge Savage noted, “Judge White says in his ruling that there are some key facts such as the defendant’s neighbor witnessing the defendant yelling, slamming the door to his apartment, aggressively entering and exiting the apartment. Apparently someone hears at some point words to the effect of ‘I’m going to kill somebody’ or ‘kill that person’; it’s ambiguous but the words are certainly aggressive.”

Judge Savage pointed out that the defendant’s behavior explained the reasoning for entering the defendant’s apartment, adding “then the defendant is seen firing a gun towards an open area and is also seen attempting to load a gun. He is later found by police passed out drunk but in possession of an unloaded gun and loaded magazine nearby.”

Judge Savage maintained that these facts suggest the defendant was aggressive and out of control, and that officers had the right to use the community caretaking exception to make sure no one is in danger of being hurt by the defendant.

“That level of volatility that is on a continuous basis in many hours of the day plus his movement in and out of the apartment would give law enforcement the right to enter because there are facts which would warrant an officer to making further inquiry to resolve a possibility about whether someone inside may require assistance,” the judge said.

Judge Savage denied the motion to dismiss the criminal complaints for Lograsso’s case, and scheduled the defendant for a plea hearing Sept. 8 at 1:35 p.m.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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