Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Apple Valley man convicted of multiple counts related to domestic violence incident

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – The estranged husband of a female victim was convicted Thursday of multiple counts related to a 2015 domestic violence incident.

Rene Vazquez, 44, of Apple Valley, was convicted of one count of Assault with a Deadly Weapon, one count of Criminal Threats, one count of Stalking in Violation of a Restraining Order, two counts of Vandalism over $400, and Dissuading a Witness from Prosecuting a Crime. Vasquez admitted a prior strike and five prison priors.

According to Deputy District Attorney David Foy, who prosecuted the case, the victim got a restraining order against the defendant, after months of him making implied threats to her.

“After it was served, the defendant saw the victim driving her vehicle in Victorville and began chasing her,” said Foy. “The victim fled and the defendant rammed her car with his vehicle, causing $4,000 in damage.”

Earlier that day, Vasquez bashed in the garage door of the victim’s Victorville home, causing $650 in damage. He was arrested and charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon. He later bailed out.

“Over the next two and a half months, the defendant continued to send the victim unwanted texts, emails and make phone calls to her, threatening things like ‘you will be regret this’ and reminding her over and over again that they will be married ‘until death do us part,’” said Foy.

At one point, Vasquez phoned the victim and urged her to recant her story.

“Unfortunately for the defendant, the victim recorded his call, and it was played to the jury,” said Foy.
Vasquez faces 31 years in state prison when sentenced Feb. 3, 2017. This case was investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department station in Victorville.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Special Victims K9 Unit Receives NACO and CSAC Awards

Today our Special Victims K-9 Unit was recognized by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors for winning NACO & CSAC awards for innovative programs.

San Bernardino gang member convicted of attempted murder

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– A San Bernardino gang member was convicted Friday of attempted murder for a 2015 shooting that occurred in the center lane of Base Line street in Highland.

Gonzalo Ibanez, 23, of San Bernardino, was convicted of one count of Attempted Murder, one count of Shooting at an Occupied Building, and one count of Shooting at an Occupied Vehicle, with the jury finding true gun and gang enhancements.

On Nov. 29, 2015, the defendant lost control of the van he was driving through San Bernardino and collided with the victim’s vehicle.

According to Deputy District Attorney Justin Croker, who prosecuted the case, Ibanez immediately tried to flee the scene in his van.

“The victim wanted to make sure the police caught up to the defendant so he engaged in a pursuit while on the phone with 911 operators,” said Crocker.

The pursuit made its way to Base Line Street in Highland, where the defendant pulled into the center lane and stopped the car. The victim made a U-turn and began driving away from the defendant’s location.

“The victim heard several gun shots ring out a few seconds after making the U-turn,” said Crocker.

None of the bullets struck the victim or his vehicle, but one stray bullet flew into a nearby liquor store, missing the people inside.

The victim was able to provide the license plate to the police, which led to locating the van abandoned in a parking stall of a trailer park near where the shooting took place.

Ibanez faces 30 years to life in state prison when sentenced Jan. 27, 2017. This case was investigated by the Highland Police Station.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Why the mother of a murdered Montclair girl is heaving a sigh of relief

By Beatriz Valenzuela, San Bernardino Sun

NORWALK >> It was June 1996 when Jennifer Lundy stood in a Rancho Cucamonga courtroom, faced the man convicted of strangling her 3-year-old daughter, Brittany Lynn, and made him a promise: “You have to get through me before you get out of the prison door because I will always be here.”

Twenty years later, Lundy has kept her promise. After she and others spoke at Chuck Johnson’s hearing Wednesday at Chuckwalla Valley State Prison in Blythe, he was denied parole for the second time.

“I’m relieved,” Lundy said in a telephone interview. “The denial gives me and my children the chance to live our lives and honor Brittany. I couldn’t live with the fact if Chuck Johnson got out or another child ended up getting hurt because he preys on the vulnerable.”

On Oct. 10 1993, Lundy and her then-husband, Darin Riggs, awoke in their Montclair home and couldn’t find their daughter. Frantic, they called police and were horrified when her little body was found inside their home, in the closet of a room Johnson had been renting from the couple.

The autopsy showed Johnson suffocated little Brittany with her own baby blanket as he put pressure on her neck and chest, strangling her.

At trial, the San Bernardino County coroner testified it took at least 2 to 3 minutes of sustained pressure to kill Brittany.

In 2011, Brittany Lynn’s image appeared on a billboard of murder victims in El Monte to raise awareness about violence and victims’ rights.

Frightened Johnson would be paroled into a community near her home and her children’s schools, Lundy worked for more than a year gathering signatures and letters from people in an effort to keep Johnson behind bars.

“Why does his parole plan have him paroled in L.A.?” she asked. “I moved away when this all happened and he still has family in the area in La Verne. Why isn’t he being paroled there? Why L.A., where I am? I was terrified. I felt like he was threatening me and my family.”

At Wednesday’s hearing, Lundy, Riggs, Brittany’s younger siblings who never knew their big sister and Connie S. Lasky, San Bernardino County deputy district attorney, all gave reasons why Johnson should not be allowed parole.

“He has still not told the truth about what has happened to poor little Brittany,” Lasky said. “Because he has not yet come to terms with what he did to her, because he’s not admitting what he did, he can’t be safe out in society.”

The parole board agreed, Lasky and Lundy said, and denied him parole for the next seven years.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

DATELINE: A Prosecutor's Moment

Prosecutor Sean Daugherty on his decision to demonstrate to the jury how Erin was killed. Click here to watch the video.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Yucca Valley man was convicted today of the 2011 torture and burning death of his ex-girlfriend, Maria Banuelos.

A Rancho Cucamonga jury found 43-year-old Hector Meza guilty of one count of First Degree Murder, with the jury finding true the special circumstances that the murder was committed during the course or commission of Mayhem, that the murder was intentional and involved infliction of Torture, and that the defendant killed the victim by means of Lying in Wait.

The jury also found Meza guilty of one count of Aggravated Mayhem, one count of Torture, and one count of Arson Causing Great Bodily Injury.

On Oct. 22, 2011, officers from the Ontario Police Department arrived at an apartment complex and found residents administering aid to 34-year-old Banuelos, who was still on fire.

At the scene, the victim identified Hector Meza and three others as her attackers. While in the ambulance her dying words were: “Hector Meza set me on fire. He is abusive and obsessive.”

The Ontario resident was taken to a hospital where she died two days later.

It was later determined by the coroner that the victim had been hit on the head three times with something consistent of a metal bar prior to being set on fire.

Hours after the attack officers arrested Meza on suspicion of attempted murder.

“On this particular night, the victim was leaving her apartment,” said Deputy District Attorney Kent Williams, who prosecuted the case. “She left her apartment and shortly later her family heard screams. They exited the apartment and saw the victim engulfed in flames on the ground.”

Following the death of Banuelos, investigators arrested four other suspects linked to the brutal attack:

Robert Chico Zapata, 24, of San Bernardino
Johnny Eugene Hernandez, 23, (No Known Address)
Johnathan Zuniga, 28, of Rancho Cucamonga
Genese Ramirez Leon, 25, (No Known Address)

The four remaining defendants are scheduled back in court next month.

Meza is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 4, 2017. He faces Life in State Prison Without the Possibility of Parole.

Prosecutors and Investigators believe there may be more witnesses. If you or someone you know has information related to this case, please contact Lt. Langford at the Ontario Police Department at (909) 395-2001.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Jury recommends death for Adelanto gang member convicted of 2009 double murder

James Ellis (Booking Photo)
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Victorville jury recommended death today for an Adelanto man convicted of the 2009 double slaying of 28-year-old Ealy Davis, Jr. and 26-year-old Shameka Reliford.

On Oct. 3, James Ellis, 28, was found guilty by a jury of two counts of First Degree Murder and one count of Active Participation in a Criminal Street Gang. Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of lying in wait, murder during the commission of a robbery, murder while an active participant in a criminal street gang and multiple murder which made Ellis eligible for the death penalty.

Today, based on the evidence presented during the Penalty Phase, the jury recommended the death penalty.

“Seeking the death penalty is one of the single most difficult decisions I have to make, and it is reserved for the worst of the worst criminals,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos. “When we seek the death penalty, it is important to remember that it is not a reflection of our brutality, but rather an expression of our disdain for the defendant’s brutal actions.”

On Nov. 23, 2009, Ellis plotted with three other men and a woman to rob Ealy Davis:

Forrest Taylor, 29, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole May 14, 2013.

Sandra Smith, 36, of Adelanto, was sentenced to 18 years in state prison Feb. 6, 2012.

William Jacobs, 29, of Adelanto, was sentenced to 13 years, 8 months Feb. 19, 2016.

Joseph Bowen, 21, of Victorville was sentenced to probation for being an accessory after the fact Jan. 6, 2012.

On Nov. 23, 2009, Forrest Taylor, William Jacobs, Joseph Bowen and Sandra Smith were gathered at Smith's residence in Adelanto. During this gathering, there was discussion about a desire to acquire drugs and money. One of them suggested robbing a drug dealer. During the planning process, Ellis produced a handgun and showed it to the others. 

Smith then suggested they rob Davis, a drug dealer she knows. Smith knows Davis because Davis was currently dating her half-sister Shameka Reliford.

According to Supervising Deputy District Attorney Britt Imes, who prosecuted the case, Smith provided Taylor with Davis' cell phone number. Several phone calls were placed to lure Mr. Davis to a secluded area near Westside Park Elementary School.

At the agreed-upon meeting place, Ellis approached Davis’ car. Davis was seated in the driver's seat and Shameka Reliford was in the right front passenger seat. Two other passengers were in the backseat.

Ellis asked Davis "Do you got me?" and Davis replied "Yes." 

This exchange was repeated, and then Ellis took a step back, produced a handgun and fired 4 to 5 times into the vehicle. Davis was killed immediately, and Reliford was taken to Victor Valley Community Hospital, where she died later.

“The defendant has demonstrated a desire to continue a life of violent gang behavior up to and through the prosecution of this case,” said Imes. “While seeking the ultimate punishment is a tough decision for all involved, I am pleased that a hardworking and dedicated jury representing the communities of this county held the defendant responsible for his actions and provided the families some sense of justice.”

Further proceedings and sentencing has been tentatively set for Jan. 27, 2017.

This case was investigated by the Adelanto Police Department and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Division.

Veterans Donations Drive

The San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association (SBCPAA) would like to thank all of the donors who made their Veterans Donations Drive a huge success. Over one thousand items—including books, blankets, dishes, artwork, furniture, and clothing—were collected among 11 county offices where SBCPAA members (Deputy District Attorneys, Deputy Public Defenders, and Child Support Attorneys) volunteered to oversee this worthwhile project.
After seeing pictures from the donations drive, Quentin Butcher, Director of Business Affairs at Vietnam Veterans of America, and Antoinette Sampson, Director of Operations at Disabled American Veterans, Department of California, both wrote to thank everyone for the excellent response, and to ask that SBCPAA make sure that everyone knew how much their support was greatly appreciated!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Read-A-Thon at Bing Wong Elementary School

In keeping with the County's Vision to Read Program, earlier this month, our office participated in the Bing Wong Read-a-thon at Bing Wong Elementary School in San Bernardino.

According to Supervising Victim Advocate Al Moore, who helped coordinate the event with Victim Advocate Wendy Salas, members of our staff read to students every hour, on the hour, to classes K-6 along with school parents. 

Bing Wong was selected by our office based on the close proximity to our office. 

"The event was greeted with much success, and the principal expressed nothing short of thanks and gratitude for our office," said Moore. "It was great to see our staff excited and enthusiastic about providing this small token of community services."


Monday, November 7, 2016

Blue Cut Fire Recovery Open House

Sr. DA Investigator S. Rivera of our Environmental & Consumer Protection Unit participated in a community outreach this past Saturday, handing out brochures and answering questions at the Blue Cut Fire Recovery Open House.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Former Marine convicted of murdering Erin Corwin

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– A former Marine was convicted today for the 2014 murder of 19-year-old Erin Corwin.

Christopher Brandon Lee, 27, was found guilty of one felony count of first degree murder with jurors finding true a sentencing enhancement of having intentionally killed the victim by means of lying in wait.
Erin Corwin’s body was found in an abandoned mineshaft outside of Twentynine Palms on Aug. 16, 2014.

“This was a terrible crime that showed absolutely no regard for the value of human life,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “Erin Corwin was just a young girl with her entire life ahead of her. And now, all that’s left is her memory. While justice was served today, it can only be a small consolation to her family and friends who will have to suffer a lifetime of pain knowing she died such a senseless death.”

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Sean Daugherty, who is a member of the Major Crimes Unit. The case was investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

“The murder of Erin Corwin was solved by solid investigative work and devoted volunteers committing thousands of hours during the eight-week search,” said Sheriff John McMahon. “We can’t erase the pain felt by Erin’s loved ones, but we will do everything in our power to imprison the criminal responsible for her murder.”

Lee is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 29, 2016 at the San Bernardino Justice Center. He faces Life Without the Possibility of Parole.


Man Found Guilty of Killing Fellow Marine's Wife

Former Marine found guilty in slaying of Twentynine Palms pregnant woman

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

29 San Bernardino County Residents Arrested in Welfare Fraud Sweep


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– Twenty-nine people were arrested last week on outstanding warrants as part of a week-long welfare fraud sweep conducted in San Bernardino County.

“Last week we conducted another welfare sweep in San Bernardino County,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “We will hold those who cheat the system accountable for their actions and make sure that welfare funds remain available to those who are truly struggling and legitimately need public assistance.”

The alleged total of public assistance illegally obtained by the twenty-nine defendants was $245,269.00.

According to District Attorney Ramos, convicted offenders could face jail time and be ordered to pay restitution for the money received. Future sweeps will be conducted throughout all parts of San Bernardino County.

Members of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Ontario Police Department, Upland Police Department, Fontana Police Department, Rialto Police Department, Colton Police Department and the San Bernardino County Human Services Department, assisted in the investigations and participated in the sweep.

To view of video segment covering a portion of the welfare fraud sweep that took place Thursday, click here:

Welcome to the newest member of our team!

Deputy District Attorney Emily Williams was sworn in last week. She will be assigned to the Desert-Mountain Division.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

District Attorney’s office kicks off national #WhyIAmAProsecutor campaign


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office kicked off the national “Why I Am A Prosecutor” campaign today.

The campaign, which is supported by National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), is designed to highlight the ethics, integrity and commitment of prosecutors across the nation.

“This video campaign is another way for us to connect with our community, the people we represent in court,” said San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, who is also the current president of NDAA. “Every day I come to work and I am fortunate to be surrounded by hardworking, dedicated public servants who fight for victims and ultimately do their best to achieve justice in every case. I want our community to know what I know, to see it for themselves as much as they can through the videos. We, too, are members of this community and we care about each and every victim. We care about public safety, and we care about doing our jobs in a manner that is ethical and respectful of every person who enters the courtroom or comes into contact with our office.”

The first video in the ongoing series was released today—using the hashtag #WhyIAmAProsecutor—on the following social media channels:



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Protecting the Environment

Great work by DDA Rick Lal and Investigator Steve Rivera who secured a conviction of Dennis O’Meara for the Unlawful Storage of Hazardous Waste.

Family of Glendora teen killed in 1976 confront killer before life sentence

Larry James Allred, center, is joined by Public Defender Yarrow Neubert, right, as he receives a life sentence in the 40-year-old murder of Cynthia May Hernandez on Monday, October 17, 2016 at the San Bernardino County Justice Center in San Bernardino, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/The Sun, SCNG)
SAN BERNARDINO >> Seeing the man who kidnapped and killed her daughter in 1976 sentenced to life in prison, Gloria Densham on Monday said she felt her family finally received the justice they deserved.

Larry James Allred, 62, was sentenced Monday for the first-degree murder of Glendora resident Cynthia May Hernandez, who disappeared Aug. 26, 1976, when she went to catch a showing of “The Omen” at a Covina theater.

Densham brought a picture of her daughter and spoke at the sentencing.

“I really don’t have the words to tell you what the last 40 years have been like,” Densham told the court. “I have missed her every day of the time she’s been gone and I’ll keep missing her until I die.”

She said Cindy loved God and her family unconditionally and her family loved her right back.

“Her life was taken violently and senselessly,” Densham said. “No mother should have to bury her daughter after only 18 years of life, it’s against the laws of nature and man.”

Hernandez’s aunt, Gwendolyn Cameron, in a letter read by the prosecutor to the court called Allred a monster, and prayed he will never be able to walk the streets again.

When Allred finally spoke, he apologized to the victim’s family.

“I’m sorry,” said the former Hacienda Heights and Walnut resident. He agreed with the victims that he was a monster at the time of Hernandez’s murder.

Allred, who pleaded guilty last month to the murder, wished someone had committed him earlier to a mental facility. He said Monday he pleaded guilty against his counsel’s advice because he wanted to bring the case “to a speedy conclusion.”

Allred said he’s ailing and doubted he would live long. He has had two heart attacks; he pondered why someone like him would be brought back after the second.

“I think this is why,” Allred said. “To bring closure.”

Under 1976 laws, Allred is eligible for parole after seven years. San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Richard Peel said he felt shame knowing that Allred will be up for parole after such a short time, despite the life sentence.

Densham said she’ll “be here in seven years” for Allred’s parole hearing.

Hernandez’s remains will be turned over to her family for burial. She said she didn’t believe Allred’s apology, and admitted she hates him.

“There’s no forgiveness there,” she said. “I tried.”

On Aug. 26, 1976, Hernandez went to see “The Omen” by herself at the Fox Twin Theaters in Covina.

Her family members searched the theater after she didn’t come home. That’s where they found her 1963 Chervolet station wagon backed into a parking spot, with Hernandez nowhere to be seen.

No one knew at the time that she crossed paths with Allred, who had already been convicted in 1975 of raping a woman in San Bernardino County. Three years later, he was found guilty of kidnapping and raping two teenage girls.

Allred admitted he committed three more rapes for which he was never caught, and told detectives he liked to hunt his victims. Detective Patty Ruiz of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Detail said those victims have not been found.

“‘The hunt’ was the more gratifying part of the act,” Ruiz said. “Our county is where he would take them.”

In 1976, Allred lived in Hacienda Heights and owned an auto detailing shop in West Covina, according to Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum. He didn’t know Hernandez.

“He pulled up next to her in the (theater) parking lot. He had a knife,” Yoakum said. “He forced her into the back of the pickup.”

Allred told authorities he put the knife down to tie up Hernandez. The teen fought back.

“He panicked and strangled her,” Yoakum said.

Allred wouldn’t say if he raped Hernandez. Yoakum said Allred drove to the San Bernardino Mountains where he buried the body in a shallow grave across the road from his family’s cabin in Twin Peaks.

On Oct. 14, 1976, a dog dug Hernandez’s skull from the grave near the Allred family cabin. The dog’s owner saw the skull between the animal’s paws and turned it over to authorities, Yoakum said.

The skull was initially thought to be from a Native American burial ground, she said.

More than a year later on a Saturday in December 1977, Jerome Ringhofer, a captain with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, got a call from a sheriff’s detective in Los Angeles County. The investigator told him three men, one of whom turned out to be Allred, were suspected of taking two girls ages 16 and 17 to the Twin Peaks cabin, where they were held against their will and raped.

Los Angeles County crime lab personnel sent to the scene also told Ringhofer there was a grave in the forest. He went up to the site with search and rescue personnel and volunteers.

“After searching around the graveside and not finding anything else, I went back to the cabin which was being searched,” he said. “I crawled underneath the porch. That’s when I found the bones.”
Ringhofer found five ribs. They were turned over to the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office.

Yoakum said the two other suspects in the rapes of the teens would later tell investigators that Allred wanted to get rid of the victims, and showed the two men the ribs. He told them he had killed a Mexican girl.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Veterans Donations Drive

SBCPAA is supporting a Veterans Donations Drive scheduled to take place between October 31 and November 4Donations will be accepted at various District Attorney, Public Defender, and Child Support offices.  See the attached images for details about this worthwhile event.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Better Way Domestic Violence Shelter and Outreach

A Better Way Domestic Violence Shelter and Outreach held a candlelight vigil Friday night outside Victorville City Hall to mourn, honor and remember those who lost their lives to domestic violence.

The annual event is always held during October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael Fermin spoke at the event on behalf of the District Attorney's Office.

Other events related to Domestic Violence Awareness Month have also taken place across the county. Last week, Desert Sanctuary held an Open House and members of the District Attorney's Office were in attendance.

On Friday October 7th the “Roar Against Domestic Violence” Motorcycle Ride was held by the 29 Palms MCCS (Marine Base). San Bernardino County District Attorney Joshua Tree Office assisted in the event by manning a “stop” at the Morongo Basin Courthouse. Victim Advocate Iris Robertson, Sr. Investigator Kevin Ford, Investigative Tech Bianca Ralston, CHP and San Bernardino County Sheriff Department personnel participated in the event. 

Sheriff Service Specialist Robert Anderson explained to the Marines what happens when a suspect is arrested and booked into jail. 

Victim Advocate Iris Robertson provided information on services offered to victims as well as explaining court procedures. 

Sheriff Deputy Jimmy Delgado shared employment possibilities with the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department.

Victim Advocate Iris Robertson and Sr. Investigator Kevin Ford

Deputy Delgado and Victim Advocate Iris Robertson speaking to the Marines

Group photo Marines and support personnel (including DA and Sheriff)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Lead Deputy DA Douglas Poston represented the San Bernardino District Attorney's Office Thursday at the Environmental Law Career Program symposium at LaVerne School of Law. 
The panel engaged dozens of students and encouraged their interest in environmental legal careers.  A number of the students were also very interested in gaining experience by volunteering, and Poston handed out a lot of cards and application packets. 
“It was great to be a part of LaVerne’s event and share with the students the benefits of working in the enviro field," Poston said. "San Bernardino County is one of the statewide leaders because DA Mike Ramos continues to strongly support action to achieve environmental justice. It is doubly rewarding to both be a part of that commitment and to encourage students and new lawyers to join us.”

Monday, September 26, 2016

DDA Kurt Rowley teaching at the 2016 Child Abduction Seminar in Sacramento

Deputy DA Kurt Rowley taught at last week's 2016 Child Abduction Seminar in Sacramento which was sponsored by the California District Attorneys Association. The two day seminar was for prosecutors and investigators working in all levels of child abduction and provided an excellent opportunity for networking and the sharing of information with others who work in the field.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Restitution Specialist assists victims of crime in collecting restitution using a CR-110/CR-111

Victim Restitution Specialist Sandra Perez recently assisted two victims in acquiring restitution they were owed after she had encouraged them to file an Order for Restitution and Abstract of Judgment (Judicial Council forms CR-110/JV-790 and CR-111/JV-790, commonly called a CR-110/CR-111).

According to Sandy, all crime victims can and should file a CR-110/CR-111 with the Superior or Juvenile Court once restitution has been awarded. The CR-110/CR-111 does not “convert” the criminal restitution order into a civil judgment. Filing it, however, enables the victim to collect on a criminal restitution order “as if it were a civil judgment,” thereby opening the door to civil collections remedies (i.e., liens, wage garnishment, etc.). 

Recording the CR-110/CR-111 with a County Recorder wherever the defendant resides or may own property establishes an automatic lien against that defendant’s current or future real estate there, and gives the victim’s judgment priority, such that the victim must be paid the amount of the restitution owed before the defendant can sell, refinance, or transfer his or her property in that county. Liens can also be placed on a defendant’s business assets via a statewide lien on personal property with the assistance of the California Secretary of State.

Back in July 2016, a victim who had followed Sandy’s advice to file a CR-110/CR-111 received notice from an escrow company that the defendant in her case had inherited a house. As the defendant attempted to have the title transferred into his name, the CR-110/CR-111 lien showed up. In order to close escrow, the defendant was forced to satisfy the victim’s lien. With some further guidance from Sandy, the victim was able to have the escrow company wire the full restitution amount (over $8,000) into her bank account one month later. 

The victim then emailed Sandy: “Good morning!! Guess what?! The full restitution was wired into our account on August 16th! We cannot believe it, but it’s true! Thank you, Sandra, for everything you did to help us get a judgment recorded. The system really does work! Please let everyone know how grateful we are for their assistance. This is such a blessing!!”

In another recent case, a victim learned that his perpetrator was about to sell his house, so he contacted our office for assistance with his CR-110/CR-111. He had turned the completed forms into the Superior Court, but they still awaited judicial signature. Sandy and DDA Michelle Iskander were able to get a judge to sign the forms immediately, and the victim quickly recorded them. Unfortunately, the title company missed the lien. It eventually acknowledged its mistake, however, and satisfied most of the restitution order (almost $30,000).

“I always encourage all of the victims I work with to file the forms because you never know when a defendant will attempt to buy or sell real property,” said Perez. “If and when they do, it will show up as a lien, which has to be satisfied before title can be transferred.” 

Attorneys at the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board and those in the District Attorney’s Appellate Services Unit with whom Sandy has worked on a variety of restitution matters also encourage that all Deputy District Attorneys assist victims in having the court sign a CR-110/CR-111 at the time the restitution order is made.

Consumer Protection Unit honored at Best of Inland Empire Awards Celebration

Supervising Deputy DA Denise Trager-Dvorak and Lead Deputy DA Doug Poston recently accepted an award on behalf of those in the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit for outstanding work in the aftermath of the Blue Cut fire.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

205 Years of Combined Service to the County of San Bernardino

The following members of the District Attorney's Office were recognized Monday by the Board of Supervisors with their service pins:

Jennifer Dawson (30 years)

Paul Garcia (25 years)

Veronica Parham (25 years)

David Simon (25 years)

Michael Dowd (20 years)

Karen Khim (20 years)

Kristianna Parde (20 years)

Paul Garcia and Veronica Parham pose for a photo with Chief Mike Smith following the presentation

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

IN THE NEWS: San Bernardino terror attack conference focuses on victims

Bureau of Victim Services Chief Flerida Alarcon poses for a photo with Lupe and Dozer--members of the Special Victims K-9 Unit. Alarcon participated in the conference to discuss the District Attorney's response on Dec. 2 and the services and still being provided today.
LOS ANGELES >> Dozens of first-responders, victim advocates and other experts came together Tuesday to talk about the insights gathered from the Dec. 2 San Bernardino terror attack including how to take a more victim-centered approach to mass casualty incidents.

The day-long event was hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office at the California Endowment Center at 1000 North Alameda St. in downtown Los Angeles.

“It’s the first of its kind in our district and possibly in the nation,” said US Attorney Eileen Decker Tuesday morning.

As authorities dealt with the aftermath of the attack — the deadliest on American soil by Islamic extremists since Sept. 11, 2001 — from an investigative and administrative standpoint, it was clear one of the major points that should not be left out is how victims are treated during and, sometimes more importantly, after such a devastating event, she said.

“Victims need all the assistance that we can afford them,” she said noting that some needed counseling, others needed help navigating through the county’s worker’s compensation system.

Decker said she hopes the conference will help assistance agencies, including prosecutors, to take a victim-centered approach to these events.

“We’ve attended many conferences that were strictly focused on the attack and police response,” San Bernardino Assistant Police Chief Eric McBride, who was also a speaker at the conference, said during a phone interview later in the day. “But it was nice to be involved in a conference that focused solely on the victims and how to better serve them.”

Along with first responders who were there the day of the attack, victim advocate groups scheduled to speak were FBI victim specialists Claire Balanay and Debbie Deem and Flerida Alarcon, chief of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office Victim Services.

They were among five experts on a panel addressing preparations needed to assist victims following a mass casualty incident.

Click here to read the full story.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Deputy District Attorney Jack Liu Honored as MADD Prosecutor of the Year

Deputy District Attorney Jack Liu was recognized today at a luncheon honoring members of the law enforcement community.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) recognized Liu—who has been a prosecutor for just under a decade—for his work in both the courtroom and within the community.

Over the last year, he has worked in the West Valley Division and has primarily prosecuted major felony DUI cases involving serious injuries or death.

“He was chosen to handle these types of cases because he is not only a tenacious prosecutor but also displays compassion and sensitivity towards victims and their cases,” said Supervising Deputy District Attorney Joe Gaetano. “The victims that he has interacted with have expressed appreciation about his accessibility and the guidance he provides them as their cases are being prosecuted.”
Deputy DA Liu and San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Smith who had 483 DUI arrests last year

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chief Deputy District Attorney Julie Peterson

Congratulations to Julie Peterson who was just promoted to Chief Deputy District Attorney. Chief Peterson, who received her badge today, will oversee the Desert-Mountain Division.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Members of Child Abduction Unit Honored at Local Baseball Game

Senior DA Investigator Karen Cragg and Investigative Tech Michelle Faxon were recently honored at an Inland Empire 66ers baseball game for their work in helping to reunite a mother with her son who had been abducted in 1995.

Karen is currently assigned to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Child Abduction Unit. Since 2009, she has conducted hundreds of interviews and has been responsible for the recovery of over 55 abducted children.
Michelle Faxon has been employed by the County of San Bernardino since 1988 and joined the District Attorney’s Office 16 years ago.

Together, Karen and Michelle are an important part of the Child Abduction team, who are committed to not only reuniting children with their lawful parent or guardian, but also holding the abductors accountable for their actions.