COURT WATCH: Jury Trial Witness Testimony Implicating Accused Contains Inconsistencies, Defense Charges

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 Sarah Chayet

VAN NUYS, CA – During a jury trial at Los Angeles County Superior Court Tuesday, Deputy Public Defender Netta Amelia Saul found several statements made by a witness – relating to the accused’s charges – to be contradictory.

The accused is facing felony charges of carjacking and driving or taking a vehicle without consent on Dec. 18, 2022.

The prosecution’s first witness, the victim of the carjacking, began giving their testimony last Friday.

This week, in front of the jury, DPD Saul reviewed several statements the witness had made and responses they had given at that time.

A main point of confusion, said Saul, was if the witness saw the accused before the carjacking.

According to DPD Saul, the witness had said he did not recognize the accused before the carjacking. But, Tuesday, when DPD Saul asked the witness if this statement was accurate, he disagreed, saying that he had recognized the accused as being “transient” and riding a bicycle outside of a restaurant.

DPD Saul also asked the witness if he ever told officers that he had been “hit in the forehead,” to which the witness said he hadn’t been.

But, previously, the witness said he had been hit in the “right side” of his head, through a car door that had been opened. DPD Saul later showed video footage of the witness at the hospital telling officers that he had been hit in the forehead through the open car window while the door itself was still closed.

“You had been hit so hard, you passed out for a few hours and didn’t remember being hit, right?” DPD Saul asked the witness, who confirmed this statement.

“(The witness) told officers that his leg hurt, nothing else,” said DPD Saul. During this hearing, however, the witness said that he had a headache after the carjacking.

“After I was hit, I kind of remember feeling like I was being dragged,” said the witness, “I wasn’t remembering very well that day…I was beat up. I had a headache and couldn’t explain it when (the officers) were asking me.”

The witness stated that he held “no ill will against the defendant,” when asked by Deputy District Attorney Stacy Stein Solomons.

Outside of the transcripts and video footage, DPD Saul asked the witness if he spoke to a detective in court on March 27.

“I think so, but I don’t remember,” said the witness. Judge Alan Schneider repeated the question with different wording to the witness, who this time responded, “yes.”

“You told the officer that the bike was black,” said DPD Saul.

“I’ve always said (the bike) was white,” said the witness.

“I have an objection to how we have handled the impeachment and the preliminary transcript,” said DDA Solomons, continuing, “It has gone overboard in presenting stuff to the jury that doesn’t need to be there.”

Judge Schneider disagreed, stating, “That is a proper way of impeachment…the witness gave different answers.”

Officer Rene Galvan of the LAPD Newton Patrol Division testified he was in the passenger seat of a patrol car when he and his partner spotted the burgundy Chevy Silverado.

“There’s a warehouse, there’s a lot of encampments,” said officer Galvan about the Newton area that he and his partner had been patrolling. “I conducted an inquiry of the license plate…there are generally a lot of stolen vehicles in the area.”

The vehicle had already been pulled over to the curb before officer Galvan and his partner conducted the traffic stop. One person exited the vehicle, who Officer Galvan identified as the accused.

DDA Solomons presented several interior and exterior photos that officer Galvan’s partner took during the investigation. One of the photos showed the bed of the truck containing a white bicycle on its side.

This case will continue to be heard at Los Angeles Superior Court this week.

About The Author

I'm a recent California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo grad. I majored in English and received a minor in Studio Art. In the fall, I plans to go back to school for a master's degree in English Literature. Currently, I am a transcript editor for CalMatters, and I hope to enter the field of technical writing someday. In my freetime, I love to draw, go on roadtrips, and camp

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