Judge Tosses Case after Prosecution Witness Can’t Provide Necessary Information at Preliminary Hearing


By Alana Bleimann, Gina Kim & Hannah Adams

ALAMEDA, CA – A judge here in Alameda County Superior Court Thursday dismissed charges in a potential firearm case after the prosecution failed to produce a law enforcement witness who could testify to the presence of a firearm.

Assistant Public Defender Laura Bull won a motion to suppress after Judge Thomas J. Nixon signaled the prosecution didn’t prove its case at this preliminary stage.

Roosevelt Ross was found with parts of a KelTec firearm around the wreckage of his vehicle after a collision in August 2020 when Ross allegedly fell asleep at the wheel while driving through San Leandro, colliding head-on into a parked car.

Officer Alina Thompson, who was present at the hearing as a witness, arrived on scene to Ross standing by the sidewalk near his overturned car.

She did not, however, witness the crash itself, nor did she see Ross exit his vehicle.  That proved to be a problem.

When asked if the airbags were deployed or if the car’s doors were open, Thompson did not recall if either were true.

After reviewing her body camera footage, it was noted that the airbags did deploy and the doors of Ross’s car were open.

Another officer at the scene, Officer Fernandez, notified Thompson of a gun holster in the car. This is when Thompson asked the defendant if he carried a gun.

Ross corroborated their statements, saying he dismantled the firearm after calling the ambulance “so he wouldn’t get charged with a felony,” Thompson said. In fact, Officer Thompson said Ross told her that more parts of the dismantled gun could be found on the sidewalk.

A pat search revealed a gun barrel, a magazine, and ammunition on the defendant. Officers recovered the gun’s frame and slide from a bundle of clothing on the sidewalk, several feet away toward the vehicle’s rear.

Ross has prior convictions from November 2019 in Las Vegas in which he was carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. That being said, his past misdemeanors did not chalk up to a felony—but with the addition of this incident, he was persuaded to disassemble the gun.

Considering Thompson did not have all the information, Judge Nixon stated to the prosecution, “I don’t know if you can prove it’s a complete gun based on what we have…this witness doesn’t ever see the gun put together, she doesn’t see the gun to see if the slide was gonna work, if there was a spring in there, or not.”

Was the gun an actual working gun? Judge Nixon asked, and the prosecution was unsure.

Judge Nixon considered Officer Fernandez to be a key witness, as he saw everything Officer Thompson did not. However, Officer Fernandez was not present to testify.

The judge stressed the need to confirm the presence of a working firearm and whether it was concealed or not.

“She [Thompson] doesn’t know anything,” Judge Nixon stated in frustration, and Officer Fernandez—who wasn’t there to testify—needed to tell the court “what he saw and where he saw it.”

After these considerations, Judge Nixon found “no reason not to suppress” and granted PD Bull’s motion.


About The Author

Gina is a sophomore at UCSB majoring in History of Public Policy and Law. She's an aspiring professional writing minor interested in studying law.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for