Monday, January 25, 2010

Co-defendant not allowed in court (Monterey Herald)

Co-defendant not allowed in court

Herald Salinas Bureau
Updated: 01/23/2010 01:29:56 AM PST

The man who allegedly prompted deputy Jesse Piñon to run into a Salinas auto body shop where he shot the owner did not hear Piñon's testimony this week because the Sheriff's Office arrested him on an immigration hold.

Defense attorney Dan Clymo said Jose Villarreal, who was free on bail and has been in the country for 30 years, was arrested outside court last fall by deputy Bryan Hoskins, whom Clymo has accused of conspiring with Piñon to fabricate evidence in the case.

Hoskins confirmed the arrest Tuesday. Asked if it was carried out at the request of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, he said, "We got information about it."

Sheriff's officials have stated a hands-off approach to immigration issues in the past. Other than assisting agents with two gang-related sweeps last year, sheriff's Cmdr. Mike Richards said this week, "we don't get involved with ICE stuff."

On Friday, Richards said Hoskins had not returned his phone calls and he could not explain why Villarreal was arrested.

Clymo asked Judge Russell Scott to allow Villarreal to attend the hearing on co-defendant Carlos Fletes' motion to suppress evidence, noting it was the first time Piñon would testify about why he allegedly chased Villarreal into Fletes' auto shop on Jan. 15, 2009.

But prosecutor Chuck Olvis argued Villarreal had no "standing" in the motion because it was based on the argument that Piñon illegally entered Fletes' property.

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