By Julian Verdon
WOODLAND – When the prosecution’s prospective expert during a pretrial conference started going into the history of Sacramento’s Broderick Boys street gang, the defense objected, calling the testimony a “speech” and “irrelevant.”
The case here in Yolo County Superior Court involves two alleged Broderick Boys gang members, Eric Lovetts and Juan Leal.
The prosecution wanted to know Det. William Silvermaster’s training and experience as a gang detective. Silvermaster was also the detective to identify the tattoos on Leal as gang tattoos after Leal was arrested.
“I have approximately 150 hours of formal and informal training in the area of criminal street gangs,” said Silvermaster, adding that street gangs are his full-time focus as an officer. He has taken a number of classes with various law enforcement agencies on gang activities and investigates gang-related crimes by keeping track of their movements, particularly the Broderick Boys.
He also stated that he read John Mendoza’s Nuestra Familia: A Broken Paradigm, a book about California’s Hispanic prison gangs.
Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor then asked, “Can you tell me what you know about the history of the Broderick Boys?”
Silvermaster then began reciting the gang’s history dating back to the 1970s and up to the present day and how it evolved from a car club. He also talked about how the City of West Sacramento had not been incorporated yet back then, and Broderick was a town in Yolo County.
However, before he could further detail the Sacramento street gang’s historical background, the defendant’s counsel, Rodney J. Beede, interrupted.
“Your Honor, I am going to object. There is no foundation for what now has become a speech, the basis of which is totally unknown on the evidence that has been presented. This is improper. It’s irrelevant,” said Beede.
The prosecution disagreed, saying that Silvermaster’s extensive knowledge and background makes him essential to the case.
“Well, I didn’t hear that. I heard that [Silvermaster] was a former patrol officer, that he read a number of publications, and had spoken to a number of other gang detectives who may have or may have not been experts. He’s got the same information as far as my experience goes or any patrol officer in West Sacramento would have gotten to identify people with specific [gang] tattoos who are committing crimes,” Beede declared.
The defense then asked what relevance the detective had to make a speech on the Broderick Boys’ historical background.
However, Judge David Reed overruled the objections, stating that what was objected to was not case-specific. Officer Silvermaster then continued on the running history of the Broderick Boys.
Afterward, the prosecution asked the court to deem Silvermaster as a criminal expert on the Broderick Boys street gang. The judge granted this, even though Beede objected one last time, charging that Silvermaster had been a patrol officer almost his entire career and had only been a gang detective for nine months.
According to Judge Reed, nothing could be refuted since Beede only disagreed on the level of Silvermaster’s expertise. Judge Reed believed Silvermaster knew more about criminal street gangs than the average citizen.
The court would reconvene on Oct. 5 at 1:30 pm in Department 7.
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