Defense Challenges Search Warrant – Investigator Fails to Keep Track of Reports in Murder Investigation

By Sam Alcaraz

RIVERSIDE, CA–The jury trial for Rodolfo Garcia is currently set to begin March 28, and has been postponed because of a dispute over evidence collected in the investigation of the murder charge, resulting in Thursday’s “Franks” hearing.

A Franks hearing takes place when the defense contests the veracity of a search warrant.

Several law enforcement officers were called to testify at this hearing, including Investigators Manjares, Alfaro, and Trudo. First names were not available.

Deputy Public Defender Linda Moore was relentless with her objections during Deputy District Attorney Deena Bennett’s direct examination of the final investigator to testify, objecting to 30 questions in a row.

Much of this testimony was spent explicating the investigators’ justification for implementing a wiretapping of the accused.

When asked which wiretap the sergeant was intercepting, he answered 1825, to which Judge Samuel Diaz corrected and clarified that it was actually 1828.

In explaining how the sergeant came to suspicious of the accused, he stated it was “(b)ecause of all the information I had learned throughout the investigation about him committing violent crimes, robberies, shootings, possible murders at the time, and his prior arrests with long-powered rifles, and high-capacity magazines and ammunition.”

DPD Moore began her cross-examination of the sergeant by pointing out that he was using a lot of the same language as the other investigators that had already testified, and asked him if he was patterning his answers after theirs, to which the witness firmly replied “no.”

DPD Moore went on to drill the sergeant on which reports he reviewed for this case, asking him to name them and disclose how many he had read. The investigator stated that he could not specify these reports, given that he had gone through dozens of them.

When the investigator claimed he had read all the reports, DPD Moore challenged this notion by asking how he knew there were not more, when Investigator Manjares had previously testified that he had not given the sergeant all of his reports.

The sergeant then failed to specify which witnesses were interviewed based on Investigator Alfaro’s reports, prompting DPD Moore to ask, “Would it be fair to say that in the reports that you said you reviewed, authored by Investigator Alfaro, that contained information about witnesses, you did not (have) any of those interviews in mind?”

The sergeant answered, “There were so many interviewed. I couldn’t keep track of them.”

Judge Diaz then adjourned the hearing, announcing that testimony will continue and there will be a ruling on the matter the week of March 1.

About The Author

Sam is a third year at UCLA majoring in English and minoring in Film, Television, and Digital Media. His interests include journalism, reading about history, and advocating for children's rights. He plans to attend law school after undergrad, with hopes of one day working in criminal defense on juvenile delinquency cases.

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