County attorney charged with collusion

Nov 23 — Sutter County Superior Court Judge Susan Green dismissed a defense petition in a domestic violence case asking for cell phone numbers used by a Sutter County victim services lawyer in 2021. The motion alleged that the lawyer had contacted an alleged victim about how to have the accused arrested and obtain a restraining order.

Jose L. Garcia-Reyes, 35, of Live Oak, was arrested in August and charged with two counts of bodily injury. He has been in detention since his bail was posted. Attorney Roberto Marquez filed a discovery violation motion on November 12, and Green denied the motion on Monday.

In October, Green asked Garcia-Reyes to answer both counts after a preliminary hearing. Assistant District Attorney Cameron King said the alleged victim and MP Harvir Randhawa testified at the hearing. His jury trial is scheduled for May 2022.

The petition alleged that the victim in the case had been verbally and physically aggressive towards Garcia-Reyes and accused him of being unfaithful. Garcia-Reyes said the victim fabricated the domestic violence allegations and threatened Garica-Reyes about the victim’s relationship with Sutter County victim services lawyer Juan Escobar.

“[The victim] threatened me saying that she would falsely accuse me of domestic violence and that Mr. Escobar would help me prosecute, “the motion reads.

Escobar and the victim are said to be communicating by cell phone, which means that Escobar’s cell phone records in 2021 could reveal their relationship and corroborate threats made by the victim, according to the petition.

The Sutter County District Attorney’s Office opposed the petition and Green denied the petition, according to King.

“The essence of our opposition was that the requested discovery (which was’ all cell phone numbers used ‘by’ our victim services advocate throughout 2021) would not lead to any relevant evidence in the criminal case. against his client, ”King said in an email.

Sutter County Prosecutor Amanda Hopper said victim services advocates have a working cell phone so they can be contacted by victims, witnesses, law enforcement and staff medical at any time of the day or night, as needed to provide services.

“Lawyers, like any employee of the prosecutor’s office, cannot comment on the specific facts of a case,” Hopper said in an email. “Part of their job, however, is educating and educating the community about the criminal justice system and the resources provided by this office.”

Hopper said that Escobar and the victim both formally denied the allegations made in the petition.

“The defendant can make allegations, without any corroboration, knowing that prosecutors will not comment on the truth or falsity of the allegations as we are committed to preserving the integrity of the criminal prosecution,” Hopper said.

She said the goal of the Sutter County Victim Services Program is to establish and maintain comprehensive local centers to provide services to victims of violent crime; reduce the trauma and intensive treatment that victims and witnesses may undergo as a result of crimes; improve the criminal justice system’s understanding of the needs of victims and witnesses and empower victims to participate in the administration of justice; enable victims to recover from the effects of crime through crisis interventions and related support services; and providing assistance to victims of crime to seek state compensation and seek restitution.

Yuba County Senior Probation Victim Services Attorney Terri Ayers said advocates for all types of cases try to educate victims about the importance of reporting crimes.

“Criminal cases are common knowledge, so if any question arises, we will provide the service of informing them of the current criminal case and any upcoming court dates,” Ayers said in an email. . “We do not provide legal advice – advising someone on how to obtain a restraining order is part of our process of explaining our program services. Outside of our job, we do not discuss cases. confidential – that is, if they go through our program (Yuba County) it is confidential. “

Marquez said his request for cellphone recordings was similar to what officers ask when they ask for a warrant for information that may be relevant.

“I think we have been treated unfairly,” Marquez said.

He said phone records would have shown communication between Escobar and the alleged victim before August.

“Escobar is an employee of the DA, so the truth-seeking DA should voluntarily provide her phone records if there is nothing else to prove that she did not lie at the preliminary hearing,” Marquez said. “… If Mr. Escobar does not use his position as a victims’ lawyer to help prosecute my client, it seems it would be much easier to be transparent and provide his cellular records than to fight the disclosure. I wonder what they have. I’m worried. “

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