Saturday, November 19, 2011

Based his past illegal actions can we trust him to over see the Gang Injunction? Man Wrongly Convicted of Murder Sues Santa Barbara Prosecutors including Hilary Dozier

This one illegal  act by Santa Barbara Prosecutor Hilary Dozier cost the City of Santa Barbara more than all the convicted criminals he has convicted!

Man Wrongly Convicted of Murder Sues Prosecutors
 Law: Efren Cruz of Oxnard seeks $120 million. 
He served four years for a shooting in Santa Barbara. 
  LA Times 

Dec. 13, 2001 
An Oxnard man wrongly convicted of murder has filed a federal lawsuit against 
Santa Barbara prosecutors and police officers, accusing them of negligence 
and conspiracy to keep him in prison. 
After four years behind bars, Efren Cruz, 27, was freed Oct. 12 when a judge 
ruled that credible evidence suggests that another man pulled the trigger 
during a 1997 gang shooting in downtown Santa Barbara. 
Last week, Cruz filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that 
accuses nearly a dozen law enforcement officials of violating his civil 
rights before and after his trial. The lawsuit accuses Santa Barbara County 
Dist. Atty. Thomas W. Sneddon and three senior prosecutors of conspiracy and 
malicious prosecution for allegedly withholding evidence favorable to Cruz. 
Prosecutors and six Santa Barbara police officers are accused of negligent 
investigation for allegedly failing to pursue evidence that indicated that 
another suspect was the killer. 
The lawsuit also charges Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Hilary Dozer, lead 
prosecutor on the case, with defamation for blaming Cruz in the media "when 
he knew or should have known that there was great doubt that [Cruz] was [the] 
actual shooter." 
Cruz is seeking more than $120 million in damages. 
"I think that my client is entitled to be compensated for 4 1/2 years in 
Pelican Bay," said Thousand Oaks attorney Richard Hamlish, referring to the 
maximum-security prison. 
"To serve there and be innocent of a crime, the kid's life was ruined," 
Hamlish said. 
Sneddon and other law enforcement officials named in the lawsuit could not be 
reached Wednesday. Dozer and Santa Barbara County Counsel Shane Stark said 
they had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment. 
The suit stems from Cruz's arrest after a shooting at Santa Barbara Parking 
Lot 10 on Jan. 26, 1997. Two groups of young men--some Oxnard gang 
members--exchanged taunts in the parking structure at Anacapa and Ortega 
streets, and one of the men pulled a gun. 
Michael Torres, a 23-year-old Santa Barbara resident, died of a gunshot wound 
to the head. Santa Ynez resident James Miranda, 21 at the time, was seriously 
injured but recovered. 
Cruz, the only one to not flee the scene, was arrested, and police found a 
chrome .38-caliber revolver. Forensic tests revealed that Cruz had gunpowder 
residue on his hands, and a driver leaving the parking structure identified
him as the shooter. 
Prosecutors charged Cruz and three others--including Cruz's cousin, Gerardo 
Reyes--with murder. One suspect pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and Reyes 
and the other suspect were released for lack of evidence. Cruz was the only 
one to stand trial. 
According to Cruz's lawsuit, Santa Barbara authorities had evidence favorable 
to Cruz before his trial, but failed to turn it over to the defense. That 
evidence included other witnesses' statements to police suggesting that Reyes 
was the shooter. 
Although Cruz denied shooting Torres and Miranda, jurors found him guilty of 
murder and attempted murder, and in January 1998, he was sentenced to 41 
years to life in prison. 
A year later, Oxnard Police Det. Dennis McMaster received a tip from an 
informant that Reyes was the Lot 10 shooter. 
At the request of Santa Barbara authorities, Ventura County prosecutors 
investigated and arranged an undercover meeting between the informant and 
Reyes, who were members of the same Oxnard gang. During a conversation 
secretly tape-recorded, Reyes admitted to the shooting. 
Ventura County Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury wrote a letter to Sneddon 
stating that based on new evidence, "we have concluded that Gerardo Reyes, 
not Efren Cruz, killed Michael Torres." 
However, Santa Barbara prosecutors stood by their conviction of Cruz. 
But Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa, ruling after a 26-day hearing, 
concluded that there was credible evidence that Reyes was the shooter, not 
Cruz, and ordered him released. 
According to the lawsuit, prosecutors abandoned their obligation to 
investigate the case after new evidence came to light. They also conspired to 
discredit Reyes' confession and keep Cruz in prison, the suit says. 
As a result, Cruz suffered humiliation, depression and emotional distress 
requiring psychological counseling, according to the lawsuit. 
Cruz was out of town and could not be reached for comment. But Adela Reyes, 
his mother, said the lawsuit was not about money as much as sending a message 
to Santa Barbara authorities. 
"People make mistakes," Reyes said. "They had the opportunity to say they 
made a mistake. But they are still saying Efren was the real shooter. 
Hopefully this will open their eyes." 

S.B.C.C.C. The place where COMMON SENSE never goes out of style!

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