Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jury finds San Bernardino man guilty of human trafficking

BOOKING PHOTO: Demetrius Manning Found
Guilty of Multiple Counts
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A jury found Demetrius Manning, 27, of San Bernardino, guilty Tuesday of multiple felony charges.

Manning was convicted of human trafficking, rape, false imprisonment, criminal threats, felony assault and kidnap for rape.

According to Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez, who prosecuted the case, Manning had met the victim and lured her in by telling her that he could help her with her music career.

“When she got to his residence she realized that he didn’t have any interest in helping her with her music but forced himself on her, raping her and forcing her to perform other sex acts,” said Rodriguez, who is the lead prosecutor of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

During the incident, Manning told the victim that he was going to make her work as a prostitute under the name “Treasure” and that she would turn all of the money over to him. Manning is due back in court Thursday for a prior strike trial. He faces a life sentence.

“Thanks to the great investigative work of Officer Aaron Jones and the San Bernardino Police Department we were able seek justice for the victim,” said Rodriguez.

Since 2013, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has filed 103 human trafficking related cases.

IN THE NEWS: Jury convicts defendant of human trafficking

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rialto man convicted of lewd acts with a child

 Jorge Gutierrez Jr. (Booking Photo)

A jury convicted Jorge Gutierrez Jr., 24, of Rialto on May 21 of four counts of sodomy with a child 10 years of age or younger and three counts of lewd act upon a child.

The victims were two boys aged 7 and 10 at the time of the crimes. Gutierrez, an Air Force reservist, molested the boys over a five-year period from 2008 to 2013. He had befriended the family and at times lived in their Montclair home, including periods of time when he was home on leave from active duty in the Air Force.

The boys, now aged 13 and 15, testified that Gutierrez convinced them that the sex acts were “an expensive massage” and that they were fortunate to get the massage for free. They were told not to tell because Gutierrez could get in trouble for giving away the massages for free.

The younger victim disclosed the molestations after Gutierrez moved into his own apartment and got into a disagreement with the boys’ mother, who told him not to come around the family any more. The victim finally felt safe enough to tell his mother. His older brother denied at first that he had been molested, but admitted the next day that Gutierrez had done similar things to him.

According to Deputy District Attorney Karen Schmauss, who prosecuted the case, Gutierrez was arrested by Det. Michael Zerr of the Montclair Police Department after being caught in several lies during an interview at the police station.

“There were indications that Gutierrez, a sexual predator, was grooming other boys in the extended family for molestation,” said Schmauss. “He will fortunately no longer be able to victimize children.”

The trial lasted a month before Judge Stanford E. Reichert. The jury deadlocked on three other counts which were dismissed. Sentencing is scheduled June 18 in Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court. Gutierrez faces 145 years to life in state prison.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

VIDEO: Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony (2015)

This film is dedicated to all law enforcement officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Filmed and edited by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Flag Raising Ceremony for Supervising Investigator Paul Amicone

Yesterday morning, members of our office gathered to raise a flag at the San Bernardino Justice Center in remembrance of Supervising Investigator Paul Amicone, who passed away after losing his hard-fought battle with cancer.

2015 Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony

The Fontana Police Department hosted the 2015 San Bernardino County Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony on May 21.

"As a district attorney, I've been offended by how they've tarnished the reputation of the honorable office of a peace officer -- the men and women who do this job every day," District Attorney Mike Ramos said. "That's why it is so important that we stand here today to honor the profession of law enforcement. They risk their lives every day when they put on that uniform."

Monday, May 18, 2015

In The Community: Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit

Pictured from left to right: Deputy District Attorneys Mike Chiriatti, David Simon, Karen Khim and Scott Byrd.

Prosecutors from our Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit recently attended the Employers’ Fraud Task Force Conference and Expo at the Pala Resort to discuss the Underground Economy and other issues related to workers' comp fraud.

District Attorney’s Gang Resistance Intervention Partnership (GRIP) celebrates first graduation ceremony in San Bernardino City Unified School District


Students from Hunt Elementary display their GRIP certificates following graduation ceremony

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Gang Resistance Intervention Partnership (GRIP), in partnership with the San Bernardino City Unified School District, hosted a graduation ceremony for second and fifth grade students from Hunt Elementary School in San Bernardino today.

“This is a proactive partnership between our educators and students that allows us to make a positive impact in the lives our children,” District Attorney Ramos said. “By effectively using time and resources today to teach our students, we can steer them away from the dangers and influences of gangs tomorrow.”

During the graduation celebration, 200 students received certificates and a GRIP backpack filled with supplies. After the graduation, students were treated to a surprise visit and photo session with Inland Empire 66ers mascot Bernie. Each graduating student received two complimentary baseball tickets donated by the Inland Empire 66ers organization.

The second grade students who participated in the program successfully completed a 7-week course, while the fifth grade students completed a 9-week course. Both curriculums—which focus on the dangers of gangs and drugs, positive choices and respect for others and property—were instructed by school security officers with the San Bernardino Unified School District.

"We are pleased to partner with the San Bernardino County District Attorney and San Bernardino City Unified School District in preventive efforts that focus students on positive behaviors and keep them engaged in school and their communities,” County Superintendent Ted Alejandre said. “The GRIP program has had great success and is making a positive impact in the lives of students and families."

Second grade students pose for a picture after graduation
ceremonies at Hunt Elementary
The GRIP Program is now in its fifth year and has graduated over 4,500 students.

“We need to be proactive, and intervention and prevention is the best way to get the job done,” District Attorney Ramos said.

Friday, May 15, 2015

National Peace Officer Memorial Day

Today we honor the brave men and women of law enforcement who have lost their lives in the line of duty.


Bureau of Victim Services Chief receives Public Service Recognition Award

As part of National Public Service Recognition Week, Bureau of Victim Services Chief Flerida Alarcon was honored today with an Award for Excellence for her service, leadership and innovative problem solving.
Alarcon—who has been with the office for 17 years—was one of 42 County employees recognized by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors as part of its annual event.
Over the course of the last year, Alarcon has implemented several innovative programs to help our county’s crime victims. To ensure that every victim in every case is notified of their victims’ rights, she researched and put into place an automated phone notification system.
To raise awareness countywide, last year she organized our county’s first Victims’ Rights Memorial held at the County Government Center.
Alarcon is especially dedicated to protecting our County’s youth. To keep our kids out of gangs, she collaborated with San Bernardino City Unified City School District to expand our elementary school Gang Resistance Intervention Program (GRIP). She obtained the county’s first human trafficking grant to provide advocates for our exploited youth.
“Chief Alarcon’s contributions to this office and dedication to serving victims is clearly bringing our County Vision to life and epitomizes public service excellence,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said.
Public Service Recognition Week is a nationwide celebration honoring the women and men who serve America as federal, state and local government employees. Observed during the first full week of May, public employees use this week to inform citizens of the many ways in which government serves the people and how government services improve the quality of life of all of us.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

SEXUAL ASSAULTS: Colleges told not to delay reporting

DA Mike Ramos addressing sexual assault on college campuses
at Wednesday's Press Conference in Los Angeles

Schools criticized for not investigating sexual assaults thoroughly

By Christine Armario
The Associated Press

California law enforcement and education leaders on Wednesday directed colleges to quickly notify authorities when a sexual assault is reported on campus, following criticism that incidents were being hidden by universities and not investigated thoroughly.

Attorney General Kamala Harris and University of California president Janet Napolitano released a template outlining cooperation between campuses and law enforcement agencies mandated under a state law passed last year. 

“California has some of the best colleges and universities in the world,” Harris said. “But for far too many hard-working students, the dream of an education from a top school is upended by sexual violence.” 

The move came amid ongoing scrutiny over the handling of sexual assault cases on U.S. campuses.

On those campuses, as many as one in five undergraduate students have been a victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault, according to the Attorney
General’s Office, adding that the crime is “severely” under reported.

The new measure — deemed a Model Memorandum of Understanding — is one of several aimed at improving university and law enforcement responses to sexual offenses in California. It requires that a victim’s name be withheld unless they give consent. 

In a separate law, California became the first state to define when “yes means yes,” requiring an “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” to engage in sexual activity. 

California is one of just a few states requiring colleges have agreements in place with local law enforcement and crisis centers in handling a response. The measures include conducting joint interviews, where possible, with school and law enforcement officials so that victims do not need to repeatedly recount a traumatic experience. In addition, if a student chooses not to file a report with authorities, the document recommends contacting her or him again within 48 hours and making the student aware a case can be reopened on request.

The measure announced Wednesday was the result of a collaboration between Harris’ office and several others in the state, including the University of California Office of the President and the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office.

“By implementing these best practices today our victims of sexual assault will be empowered with the knowledge and resources they need to physically and
psychologically recover,” San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos said. “They’ll also carry the confidence that their perpetrators will be held accountable.”

VIDEO: DA Mike Ramos addressing sexual assault on college campuses
at Wednesday's Press Conference in Los Angeles

A flurry of bills outlining campus response to sexual assaults has been introduced in state legislatures this year, though few have been passed.

A proposed federal law requiring all colleges and universities to have an agreement in place with local law enforcement has also been stymied in Congress. Critics say that approach contradicts existing federal statutes allowing sexual assault victims to decide whether law enforcement should be notified.

Victim rights advocates also contend it’s critical to let the victim decide whether to involve the police.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2014 IFA Officer of the Year: Supervising Investigator Paul Garcia

Supervising Investigator Paul Garcia was named Officer of the Year today by the International Footprint Association, Ch. 67. Thank you Investigator Garcia for your dedicated service to our office and to the citizens of San Bernardino County.

Service Pin Presentation

The first quarter 2015 Service Pin Presentation was held May 11, 2015 in the Robert A. Covington Board Chambers. Chairman of the Board and Supervisor James Ramos and Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux made the official presentation.

Pictured clockwise from top left to right: Gary Roth (35 years), Cheryl Jones (20 years), Sandra Perez (30 years), Janet Hulse (20 years), Patricia Hussong (35 years) and Brenda Whittaker (25 years)

Pictured left to right: Supervisor James Ramos, District Attorney Mike Ramos (35 years) and Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Welcome and Congratulations!

From left to right: Deputy DA Milena Miric, DA Mike Ramos and Deputy DA David Raab. Raab and Miric,, who were both sworn in yesterday, are assigned to the Central Division.

Paul Garcia was promoted to Supervising Investigator and is now assigned to the Desert-Mountain Division.

From left to right: Investigator Carl Williams, Investigator Tim Day, Chief Mike Smith and Investigator Chuck Miller following their swearing-in ceremony Tuesday.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Administrative Professionals Day / Week

First originated in 1952, Administrative Professionals Day is now observed in a number of countries worldwide and is one of the most celebrated workplace holidays, especially amongst support staff. Throughout each of our various divisions, there were several celebrations on April 22, 2015.

Those is our Specialized Prosecutions Divisions had individual celebrations in their respective units, while the administrative professional staff at 303 was treated to a catered breakfast from The Corner Bakery of Redlands.

Floral arrangements provided to Administration Professionals
in the Desert-Mountain Division
According to District Attorney Mary Izadi, the West Valley Division took it a step further and celebrated all week:

"In the West Valley division we wanted to ensure that our support staff knew how much we appreciated them!  With the significant changes and moves in our division, the staff has really been asked to go above and beyond.  To show our appreciation for all support staff and to recognize all their hard work and patience, a special series of activities were held.  Some activities were arranged by groups of lawyers, and others were done by individual attorneys who wanted to show their gratitude.

"In the morning, each staff member received a floral arrangement.  There was a custom Chemex coffee bar with made to order coffee for each staff member.  There were individually packaged cookies on their desks and breakfast sweets in the break room.

Floral arrangements provided to
Administrative Professionals in the
West Valley Division

"In the afternoon, we left the office for some delicious pizza, salad, and breadsticks.  It was an unlimited selection of made to order pizzas.  The pizza was made with extra love.  Later in the day, more sweets were added and the Chemex coffee bar continued. The next day, we celebrated the April office birthdays in an extra special way with four different cakes.
"This was all in addition to various other separate acts that attorneys did for particular support staff members.  The attorneys and supervisors in the West Valley are continually grateful for all the hard work and effort of our fellow staff members!"

West Valley Division staff are treated to pizza, salad, and breadsticks. 

Supervising Deputy District Attorney preparing the pizza dough