Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Fresno Sheriff Exonerates Anthony Capozzi, Ex-State Bar President, in Smuggling Probe
By a MetNews Staff Writer
ANTHONY P. CAPOZZI
Former State Bar President
There is no basis to file charges against former State Bar President Anthony Capozzi in connection with a charge of smuggling contraband into the Fresno County Jail, a sheriff’s spokesperson said yesterday.
The office said on Oct. 12 that it was investigating Capozzi in connection with an unspecified matter. In a statement yesterday, a sheriff’s spokesperson revealed that officers had identified two suspects in the case and sent the matter to the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office for review.
“Detectives have completed their investigation into Capozzi and the evidence shows there are no grounds for detectives to request charges be filed against Capozzi,” the statement read.
The statement explained that on Oct. 11, Capozzi visited a then-client at the jail, and was carrying a cardboard box containing documents, which he left with the inmate, whom KSFN-TV, the local ABC affiliate, identified as Trenell Monson, a local gang leader. Monson was among 18 defendants indicted by a federal grand jury last May and charged with sex trafficking and other crimes.
Capozzi, the Sheriff’s Office said, “met with his client in an open visitation room and left the box with the inmate before leaving the jail.” As Monson began to carry the box back toward his cell, a correctional officer stopped him and discovered a hidden compartment containing cell phones and an over-the-counter medication.
Capozzi, who was attending a Commission on Judicial Performance meeting the day the Sheriff’s Office said it was probing him, told the MetNews at the time that the matter could have been cleared up with a simple phone call.
The attorney “fully cooperated and met with detectives for an interview,” yesterday’s statement said. “Based upon the gathered statements and the forensic results of the evidence, detectives could not prove that Capozzi knowingly or intentionally smuggled the items into the jail. Detectives continue to try and develop information about the person(s) responsible for assembling the box taken into the jail.”
Capozzi, 71, told the Fresno Bee yesterday he had been confident he would be cleared in the investigation, and he was pleased to have an official conclusion. The attorney has had his own practice in Fresno since 1979 and served as State Bar president in 2003-04.
He has been a member of the CJP since 2010 and its chairperson since last year. He has also been president of the Fresno County Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association, San Joaquin Valley Chapter, and was a member of the Judicial Council of California from 2005 to 2010.
Capozzi graduated from State University of New York, Buffalo and the University of Toledo College of Law. He was a law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois from 1970-73, and served the U.S. Department of Justice as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1973-79.
His practice focuses mainly on criminal law, but with some civil work. He is a fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.
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