Friday, November 6, 2015
Court Rules for Pasadena in Ex-Deportee’s Suit
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A former gang member, who was twice deported but returned and was able to have the underlying convictions dismissed because the evidence was destroyed years after the cases were closed, cannot sue the City of Pasadena for malicious prosecution, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled yesterday.
Div. Eight, in an unpublished opinion, agreed with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin Brazile that an officer’s testimony about finding methamphetamine and a gun during a search of William Alvarado’s dresser drawer while he was on probation established probable cause for his arrest and subsequent prosecution.
Alvarado was arrested pursuant to a warrant in 2001, after he failed to appear in two cases. The search of his dresser, in a residence shared with his mother and sister, led to his being charged with gun and drug violations, in addition to the burglary and drug cases he was already facing.
He entered a plea to some of the earlier charges; the charges resulting from the search were dropped. He was sentenced to three years on probation, with 270 days in jail, and deported to Guatemala after completing the jail term. He returned in 2006 and was ousted from the country again.
He returned again in 2009, hired an attorney, and moved to vacate his pleas in the earlier cases.
In 2012, after the pleas were vacated, prosecutors acknowledged that they no longer had the evidence and the cases were tossed out, leading Alvarado to sue for malicious prosecution.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta, sitting on assignment in the Court of Appeal, cited the testimony of one of the officers that she knew Alvarado, from prior contacts, as a gang member on probation. Even without specific testimony regarding search conditions, Ohta said, it could be inferred from the testimony that the search was valid as a probation search.
Since Alvarado offered no evidence to the contrary, Ohta said, the trial judge was correct in granting summary judgment.
The case is Alvarado v. City of Pasadena, B259669.
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