COURT WATCH: Judge Dismisses Preliminary Hearing When Prosecution Fails to Subpoena Witness – Accused Upset DA Gets ‘Another Chance’ 

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 Jenna Tooley

LOS ANGELES, CA— During what was supposed to be a preliminary hearing at Los Angeles County Superior Court, the prelim took an unexpected turn when Judge Cathryn Brougham dismissed the case because of a paperwork error, and the failure of the prosecution to subpoena Police Officer Jasmin Vigil to testify.

The accused, noting the prosecution “already messed up once,” argued the DA should not get another chance to refile the case, as the judge allowed.

During the preliminary hearing, Certified Law Student Jason Treul (supervised by Deputy District Attorney Hannah Elizabeth Evinger) dismissed Count 2 against the accused.

However, an unforeseen revelation emerged as Counts 3 and 4 were found to be missing from the files of both the counsel and the court, existing only in the judge’s file. This prompted DDA Evinger to request time for deliberation with Certified Law Student Treul.

Following deliberation, DDA Evinger and Treul decided to proceed without information on Counts 3 or 4, narrowing the focus solely onto Count 1, which pertained to residential burglary.

The accused, initially removed from the courtroom during deliberation, expressed concern over the court’s ability to provide necessary documentation for a fair hearing.

Certified Law Student Treul named Aaron Goff as the investigating officer and called upon Beverly Hills Police Officer Jasmin Vigil to testify. However, it was noted that Officer Vigil had not been subpoenaed to testify for Count 1.

Recognizing the procedural gaps of the incomplete case file, Treul and DDA Evinger proposed dismissing the case and immediately filing again within 10 days, allowing them to correct the oversights and subpoena Officer Vigil for the other counts that had not been initially noted in the court file.

The accused, unaware of the behind-the-scenes deliberations and of the court in providing necessary documentation on his file, expressed frustration, charging that “they already messed up once, why do they get another chance?”

In response, Judge Brougham explained, according to the law, the district attorney is granted another chance before the case faces complete dismissal.

Certified Law Student Treul and DDA Evinger confirmed their intention to immediately re-file the case despite the accused stating, “How is that fair?” Judge Brougham acknowledged and confirmed the procedural oversights of the incomplete file but the only explanation provided to the accused was “it’s the law” to grant a re-filing, as stated by Judge Brougham.

The hearing ended with Judge Brougham setting the next preliminary hearing for Feb. 20.

About The Author

Jenna Tooley is a third-year senior studying Political Science with a concentration in American Politics and minors in Global Studies and Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has a passion for social justice and advocacy work and intends on pursuing Law School in the very near future, with a potential specialization in Criminal Law in aims of dismantiling the stigma around incarcerated people and addressing the root causes of recidvism to provides incarcerated people resources and rehabilitation to independently function upon re-entry into society. Outside of her advocacy work she enjoys traveling and sightseeing, aborbing the ambiance of coffee shops, and thifting as a form of self-care.

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