Via Grits for Breakfast: After all, how many Steven Rodriguez’s could there be?
The wrong Steven Rodriguez was arrested in front of his wife and four year old son for drug trafficking based on a warrant approved by a local Justice of the Peace. He was taken to jail and required to post bail (including $5,000 non-refundable to the bail bondsman) then lost his job after his name and his picture was disseminated to the media. It was three weeks before authorities figured out they’d picked up the wrong guy.
[Rodriguez’s attorney George Filley III] said in a telephone conversation with DeWitt County Sheriff Jode Zavesky, the sheriff acknowledged that the investigation and arrest was an error and expressed regrets over the matter.
“The whole problem is Steven’s drivers license was used to identify him, and that photo released to the news media,” Filley said. “How in the world did that happen?”
Filley, who had 30 years experience in law enforcement and is also a former Victoria County district attorney, said part of the problem is that evidence is not reviewed thoroughly before a warrant is issued.
“In some of the outlying counties, the district and county attorneys do not review the complaints or applications for warrants before the warrant is issued,” Filley said. “In this case, this is a direct filing. An officer swears out a complaint before a magistrate and based on what the officer swears to, the magistrate issues a warrant. That’s frightening. That could be any one of us.
“It’s never been reviewed by the prosecutor. Never been reviewed for sufficiency of evidence. That’s how you can get into mistakes. In this particular case, it resulted in a terrible miscarriage on justice.”
An Alameda County medical marijuana patient is reeling after sheriffs raided his garden and threatened to kill his pet dog today.
Jason Rivera, a paraplegic who suffers severe chronic pain, was detained by sheriffs presenting a warrant at his recording studio. The warrant was based on the tip of an anonymous informant, said Rivera, recounting the statements of deputies on the scene.
As sheriffs executed the warrant at the studio, one asked Rivera about searching his home. Rivera says the deputy threatened to kill his dog if he didn’t cooperate. “We can do this the easy way and you can take us to your house to look around,” Rivera recounts the deputy saying, “or we can detain you for six hours while we get a warrant and go to your house and shoot your dog.”