By Alana Bleimann
SAN FRANCISCO – Assistant Public Defender Martina Avalos detailed a number of alleged actions of misconduct against Prosecutor Karen Catalona after the jury left the room to begin deliberations Thursday in the attempted murder trial of Damian Alvarez.
Before the jury entered the courtroom, PD Avalos charged that throughout the duration of the jury trial against Alvarez, “the court has repeatedly turned a blind eye” to the “misconduct” that Deputy District Catalona has continued to make.
To begin, said Avalos, Catalona allegedly brought photographs and a new statement about the victim being “smacked” into the courtroom during a witness testimony.
No one knew who took the newly presented photographs nor when they were taken.
According to Avalos, the trial went on for two weeks before Catalona found this statement and when Avalos tried to object to this new evidence, Judge Brendan Conroy overruled the objection immediately.
“I think that’s highly prejudicial,” Avalos stated.
Catalona began speaking, claiming that Avalos also had some moments of misconduct herself and would address them later on in the morning.
“I have more misconduct arguments,” Avalos tried to tell Judge Conroy, but he excused her from continuing so that the jury could be brought into the room. Unfortunately, not every member of the jury was present at that time so there was more delay.
“We couldn’t use this time to…?” Avalos began, but Judge Conroy cut her off by getting up and leaving the room until the jury returned.
Eventually the jury entered the room and were read their instructions for deliberations by the judge.
As they left the courtroom, Avalos began listing other moments of alleged misconduct.
Catalona explained that the new photographs and statements she brought up were not late discovery because they were never in her or the police’s possession prior to them being shown in court.
Furthermore, Avalos claimed that Catalona called Alvarez a liar three different times. She explained how this action is outright unlawful, but the court continued to overrule her objection multiple times.
“The court is well aware that this is the law,” Avalos said, “well, maybe not because it was overruled.
“Is the court not aware of this rule?” Avalos continued to ask Judge Conroy.
“Well, not every rule is as black and white,” Judge Conroy replied.
To help her argument, Avalos noted more than five past cases that came to the conclusion that calling the defendant in any case a “liar” is unlawful.
After that, Avalos explained her last complaint, stating that Catalona was “attacking the defense” and suggesting that the defense lied about allegedly speaking with a witness during trial and then having that witness change their answers soon after.
“Commentary about what I address, that is misconduct,” Avalos added.
Catalona ended the morning by discussing her side of the story and that in order to argue against Avalos she would need to read back over all the reports and allegations.
Meanwhile, the jury is in full deliberation.