COURT WATCH: LA County Judge Denies Accused Motion to Dismiss in Burglary Case, Jails Her

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By Perla Chavez

LANCASTER, CA — Deputy Public Defender Jonathan Mendoza’s motion to dismiss burglary charges was denied by Judge Lowrie Mendoza Wednesday at the Michael Antonovich Antelope Valley Los Angeles County Courthouse this week, and the accused was jailed awaiting trial.

However, the defense had questions regarding Officer Brian Walkers’ lack of direct observation of the accused in the vehicle.

The accused is charged with assault with deadly weapon with force: possible great bodily injury, vandalism, and possession of burglary tools.

Officer Walker was called to the stand to give witness testimony, and explained that according to the interview conducted, the complaining witness observed the accused inside their vehicle and as the victim and their family approached, the accused attempted to flee.

Officer Walker testified the complaining witness and their brother tried to detain the accused. However during the accused’s attempt to flee, they bit the complaining witness’ finger which caused a laceration.

DPD Mendoza asked Officer Walker if he witnessed the reported actions, and Walker denied it.

After DPD Mendoza inquired whether the accused was searched, Officer Walker responded his partner conducted a search on the accused and did not find anything on their person.

The prosecutor inquired about the monetary value of the damages, to which the officer responded that upon their interview with the complaining witness, the estimated damages were $450.

Officer Walker said the complaining witness did not state whether they have automotive experience or used the Kelley Blue Book resource in determining the estimated cost of damages on the vehicle when questioned by DPD Mendoza.

When DPD Mendoza asked about the evidence gathered at the scene, Officer Walker reported law enforcement wasn’t involved in the detaining of the accused. Instead, the accused was afterwards promptly put in the patrol vehicle by Officer Walker’s partner upon arriving at the scene.

Officer Walker said neither he nor his partner had witnessed  the accused standing over the screwdriver when they separately arrived on the scene.

The prosecutor asked questions about the damage done to the vehicle, to which Officer Walker responded the front driver side window was removed and the molding around the window was torn and damaged.

Photographs of the victim’s bitten pinky finger were shown to Officer Walker to confirm what he observed and he confirmed and commented the wound was actively bleeding when he arrived at the scene.

When asked about the tools used for the burglary by the prosecutor, Officer Walker stated there was a screwdriver on the ground. The victim reported that when the accused got up from the car the screwdriver was under them.

The prosecutor highlighted the fact that the accused has a pending felony in the San Bernardino Courthouse, which makes it inappropriate for this to be a misdemeanor.

Judge Mendoza asked if the felony charge happened prior to this situation, to which the prosecutor responded no, adding the accused has previous battery- related incidents involving biting conduct.

For this reason, Judge Mendoza denied DPD Mendoza’s motion to dismiss and arraignment was scheduled for May 22. The accused was remanded to the custody of LA County Jail.

About The Author

Perla Chavez is a first-generation college student that has obtained a paralegal certificate from the UCLA Extension Paralegal Program. Her academic journey includes a major in Political Science with a focus on race, ethnicity, and politics at UCLA. Perla has actively contributed to social justice advocacy through internships with CHIRLA and the NAACP. Driven by her passion to recognize inequalities and advocate for the rights of others, Perla aspires to become an immigration lawyer. Apart from her dedication to academics and the legal field, she finds fulfillment in being a volunteer for the city of California City, spending quality time with family, and expressing creativity through painting.

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