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Does Claudia Alvarez have what it takes to be a Judge?
It’s no secret that Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez wants to be a judge. While she effectively runs the Santa Ana City Council meetings, she showed us a glimpse of her true self last year when she derisively called her fellow Council Member Michele Martinez a drug dealer.
Now Scott Moxley has shown us yet another glimpse of what Alvarez might be like as a judge. And it is no bueno!
Moxley posted an article today over at the O.C. Weekly about a drug bust gone wrong near Disneyland.
On Nov. 8, in 2007, At 3:15 p.m., an undercover narcotics unit led by Investigator Christopher M. Catalano decided to end surveillance on 58-year-old Danny Stephen Simmons. Catalano ordered a patrol unit driven by Deputy Gino Rodriguez to stop a 2007 Dodge truck driven by Simmons on Harbor Boulevard.
Simmons was arrested, and the case ended up in court, where a rookie public defender defender named Case Barnett told the Judge, Sarah S. Jones, that he had been provided audio tape that would show that the officers were lying in court about what happened the night they arrested Simmons, who ended up with missing teeth during that arrest.
But the prosecuting attorney would not allow Judge Jones to listen to the tape. And who was that prosecutor? You guessed it. Deputy District Attorney Claudia Alvarez.
Alvarez made six objections as to why the Judge should not listen to the tape, including that it would take undue time.
As a Council Member in Santa Ana, Alvarez was more than happy to move half the City Council meetings out of the Council Chambers so the public would not see those meetings on T.V. She also has blocked putting the meetings online as archived video. So it is not surprising that she also tried to stop a judge from hearing evidence that would clear a defendant.
What was on the tape? Apparently it showed that Catalano had threatened to fabricate evidence prior to Simmons waiving his constitutional right to remain silent.
In the end, the Judge never listened to the tape. Eventually District Attorney Tony Rackauckas had to write a letter to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, who in turn did not care at all. In fact she gave a medal to Catalano for another drug bust he conducted on the same day he arrested Simmons.
According to Moxley, the ”letter to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, which detailed the impact of the fabrication threat and, based on an interview with a top-ranking OCSD official, identified Catalano as the likely culprit. “Since an officer threatened that Simmons was going to prison and that he would ‘make somethin’ up,’ a court could reasonably find Simmons’ statement was a product of this threat,” wrote the DA, who also noted the public’s confidence in the sheriff’s department would erode if the incident became known beyond the two law-enforcement shops. The DA apparently never received a reply from Hutchens and was forced to drop all of the charges that relied on the investigator’s word.”
Think about that. Rackauckas had to undo what his Deputy District Attorney, Claudia Alvarez, did. She botched this case. As an attorney she had a responsiblity to allow the court to hear all the evidence, even if it blew her case. And instead she refused to allow the audiotape to be heard by the presiding Judge.
Remember this story the next time you hear that Alvarez wants to be a judge. And remember this story when Sheriff Hutchens asks for your vote. According to Moxley, Hutchens never responded to his inquiries. Like her predecessor, Mike Carona, Hutchens loves to cover up for dirty cops…