By Julian Navarro
SACRAMENTO – In September of 2019, a Sacramento male and female were found with contraband during a probation search of a car—but the detainments may have been unlawful, argued a defense attorney this week in a Sacramento County Superior Court preliminary hearing.
During this search, the officers found contraband such as drugs, devices to consume drugs, burglary tools, scales used for drug sales, a loaded gun with ammunition, and false checks.
On a routine patrol check on Sept. 17, 2019 for loitering and looters in the area of El Manto Access parking lot in Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County Sheriff Dept. deputies noticed a vehicle parked early in the morning. The deputies ran a DMV check and determined the tags expired months earlier.
The deputies said they approached the vehicle, and noticed there were numerous items in the back seat. They also noticed the defendants, Jacob Dufur and Bobby Jumbolen, inside the vehicle.
One defendant, Jumbolen, who was on the passenger side of the vehicle, admitted to being on probation.
Deputy Troy Mahon said that he detained Jumbolen and took her to the back of his patrol vehicle, noting on the stand, “I activated the patrol car camera and I verified that she was on probation,” adding that it was informal searchable probation.
Deputy Mahon said he told Dufer that he was going to conduct a probation search of the vehicle and to step out of the driver-side of the vehicle. Mahon proceeded to take Dufur out of the driver-side of the vehicle and placed him on the curb next to the car.
No weapons were found on Dufer but a background check of Dufur found that he had a prior felony conviction.
Mahon, in response to a question by Deputy District Attorney Frances Cobarrubio, said he asked Dufer to step out of the car because “I am able to search areas that are easily accessible to the person that is on probation.”
Mahon also said that it appeared like the vehicle was lived in overnight because it was parked in that access area.
Defense attorney Ronald Castro tried to play the dash cam video but the audio failed—both counsel believed that audio from the video was important to depict the tones of both the officers.
After a five minute recess to fix the audio failed to fix the audio. Judge Gerrit W. Wood stepped in and said he’d review the audio in chamber and rule later.
Defense attorney Castro then attacked the search, admitting that deputies had every right to walk up to that car to find out who was there at 7:35 a.m., in a public park. He also said it sounds like they’re doing a casual patrol for homelessness and anything else.
Castro then motioned to suppress the evidence under California v. Johnson, which determined that a search can only be justified as incident to arrest, when the specific suspect is within reach distance of the interior of the vehicle and probable cause exists to believe the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of the defendant being arrested.
Castro argued that his client shouldn’t have been arrested ,and also when they searched the car based on probation status they were limited to arm’s reach. All searches after that fall under the doctrine of the fruit of the poisonous tree, and are not admissible, he added.
Judge Wood late ruled the search was lawful, and found Dufur must stand trial, which is set to begin Nov. 16. All charges against co-defendant Jumbolen were apparently dismissed.
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