COURT WATCH: Prosecution Attempts to Add Robbery Charge Despite Primary Witness Being Severely Intoxicated at Crime Scene

LOS ANGELES- CA, MARCH 2: Los Angeles Superior Court Stanley Mosk Courthouse March 2, 2004 in Los Angeles Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

By Jojo Kofman and Jenna Tooley 

LOS ANGELES, CA – In a preliminary hearing here Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the prosecution attempted to add a burglary charge to the accused’s stolen credit card case based primarily on the severely intoxicated alleged victim’s testimony and what the alleged victim told the investigative officer.

Deputy Public Defender Nicole Mandy Wong-Chong requested a motion to dismiss the case.

The judge set the case for trial, but denied the motion to add burglary to the case.

Allegedly, on Sept. 9, at a CVS in Santa Monica, the accused approached the victim and took a bag of food and wine from him. When the victim asked for his items back, the accused allegedly struck him with a wooden object and removed an EBT credit card from the alleged victim’s pocket.

Prior to this incident, the accused had been stationed on the ground under a blanket outside the CVS where the incident occurred.

Santa Monica Police Officer Charles Olsen, the investigating officer who authored the report of the incident, was questioned during cross-examination by DPD Wong-Chong and admitted the alleged victim, the primary eyewitness in the case, was severely intoxicated.

Deputy District Attorney Frederick Schwartz attempted to add a burglary count for the allegedly stolen EBT card Wednesday in court, but DPD Wong-Chong argued there was insufficient evidence because the card was found lying on the ground, instead of on the accused’s person.

Although the victim claimed the accused stole his EBT card, the investigative officer testified it wasn’t in the accused’s possession upon the officer’s arrival at the incident.

Officer Olsen confirmed the alleged victim had drunk a gallon of alcohol, was incoherent, and the officer had to continue shaking him to wake him up. DPD Wong-Chong explained the events that led up to the accused hitting the victim weren’t investigated.

Despite Judge Cathryn F. Brougham holding two counts related to the assault and dismissing the burglary count, DDA Schwartz continued to push for the addition of the burglary charge. DPD Wong-Chong interjected, stating, “There is no credible evidence of robbery.”

When Judge Brougham inquired as to why the accused would remain so close to the EBT card after allegedly attempting to steal it, DDA Schwartz responded, “He (the accused) was hiding under a blanket.”

DPD Wong-Chong responded, “My client is not running, not hiding, he’s lying right there.”

Judge Brougham denied the defense motion to dismiss the case, yet held that she would not add the burglary charge.

About The Author

Jojo Kofman, from San Francisco CA, is a fourth-year student at the University of Vermont. She studies Political Science and Sociology and is passionate about addressing issues in the carceral system. She hopes to pursue a career in law.

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