COURT WATCH: Judge Strikes Former Police Officer’s Testimony When It’s Noted He’s No Longer Sworn Police Officer 

By Bryan Miller

WOODLAND, CA – Judge Daniel Wolk struck the testimony of a former Davis police officer here in a Yolo County Superior Court preliminary hearing late last week after Deputy Public Defender Sarah MacDonald argued as a former officer his testimony was hearsay.

The defense move forced the prosecution to call another officer who did testify to the same things, and both accused were found to be liable for the charges of felony grand theft and burglary, and will stand trial.

The defense and Deputy District Attorney Alex Kian agreed to have all of the testimony stricken because a current police officer would be able to testify to cover the issues that had been stricken.

During cross-examination of the witness, DPD MacDonald opened by determining the witness was no longer a sworn police officer. Defense attorney David Nelson joined a motion suggesting the finding led to a doubt of the former officer’s credibility.

When asking why the former officer was no longer employed by a police agency, DDA Kian objected, stating that there were formal routes to take to discover those issues. He also stated that if those formal routes were to be taken then the preliminary hearing would have to be continued.

While the defense requested all of the testimony of the witness be stricken, DDA Kian stated that only what was testified under Prop. 115 should be stricken as hearsay, claiming testimony of firsthand interactions should be allowed because any competent individual should be able to testify to their firsthand interactions.

Attorney Nelson argued against this, noting the credibility of the witness was in question, and therefore all of the testimony should be stricken, or at least the team should be able to inquire why the witness was no longer a sworn police officer.

DDA Kian argued that if all of the testimony was stricken and the formalities to inquire into the former officer taken then the preliminary hearing would have to be continued.

During a short recess for Judge Daniel Wolk to look into the law in order to properly rule on this unique issue, counsel came to an agreement. They agreed that the testimony of the officer would be struck and an additional officer would be questioned in order to put the details from the previous testimony on record.

After questioning of the second witness, Judge Daniel Wolk ruled that there was in fact sufficient evidence to hold the co-accused to answer in a jury trial.

About The Author

Bryan Miller is a fourth year political science - public service major at UC Davis. He has a desire to pursue law in the future and has a large interest in the justice system and constitutional law. In his free time Bryan likes to spend time outdoors fishing and hiking.

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