Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Office Assistant III Maidali Maldonado

Maidali has always been extremely reliable and for years, has been the constant bedrock and anchor of the Juvenile clerical staff. The Juvenile unit does not know what they would do without her.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Rubidoux man sentenced to state prison for 2013 Shooting Death of Aspiring Hip-Hop Musician Outside Redlands Nightclub

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Rubidoux man was sentenced to state prison today for his role in the shooting death of 22-year old Kevin Decatur of Moreno Valley.

The shooting occurred outside the now-closed Cancun Bar and Grill nightclub in Redlands on Jan. 20, 2013, following a verbal altercation. Decatur had performed at the club earlier that evening.

A San Bernardino Superior Court Judge sentenced 27-year-old Anthony Tolbert (pictured above), of Rubidoux, to 120 years to life in state prison.

In Dec. 2015, a jury found Tolbert, 24-year old Jamal Duncan, of Rubidoux, and 27-year-old Michael Singh, of Corona, guilty of Murder and Street Terrorism and found true multiple allegations related to street terrorism and use of a firearm.

Terryl Morris, 36, of Riverside, was found guilty of Accessory After the Fact.

On March 20, Singh was sentenced to 135 years in state prison and Morris was sentenced to 10 years and 8 months in state prison.

Two days later, on March 22, Duncan was sentenced to 80 years to life in state prison.

This case was prosecuted by Supervising Deputy DA Cary Epstein and the Central Division Support staff and investigated by the Redlands Police Department.

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Investigative Technician III Michelle Martinez

A quick scan of recent trial kudos emails have one thread in common and that is there is generally a line in there about how Michelle saved the day in trial. One such example follows: During the 2016 Thanksgiving work week, a potential problem surfaced when a Deputy DA was preparing for trial. Along with the assistance of another Investigative Technician, Michelle waited after-hours until the problem was resolved. Her exceptional diligence and extraordinary efforts over the holiday to support the attorney staff cannot be overstated.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Deputy District Attorney Lisa Crane

Lisa epitomizes the image of a team player. She is always to work early and it is not uncommon for her to work after hours and on weekends. She cares about the cases she prosecutes and always builds and maintains a strong rapport with her victims. Aside from handling her own caseload, she is always available to help her colleagues and help guide our junior deputies. Lisa is an asset to the West Valley Division.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipients Senior Investigator Karen Cragg and Investigative Technician II Michelle Faxon

Always acknowledging the efforts of others, and never seeking attention during her years of tireless and tenacious work in our Child Abduction Unit, speaks to Karen’s investigative style.

Although each case presents legal and social issues that complicate child abduction cases, few challenged Karen and the team more than the reuniting of 22 years old Steve Hernandez with his mother. Steve was abducted at age 18 months, and taken from his mother in the United States, to Puebla Mexico. The abducting father removed all photographs and documents before fleeing. This case was made through extensive coordination with the Department of Justice and Mexican officials; exhaustive investigation follow-ups; developing a ruse to collect a DNA sample, and committed team work. This investigative story extends far beyond the written limits of recognition, but remains in the hearts of those brought together and those who brought them together. Congratulations for Investigative Excellence.

Always courteous, caring and tactful in her professional role as a member of the Child Abduction Unit, Michelle compliments an incredible DA team. As a fluent Spanish speaker, she was a strong investigative resource that reunited 22 years old Steve Hernandez, a U.S. citizen, abducted by his father at the age of 18 months and missing the past 20 plus years with his mother.

This mother and son were reunited after extensive coordination with the Department of Justice and the Mexican officials. Using her Spanish language skills and developing a ruse to collect a DNA sample to confirm identity, and getting cooperation from the Mexican officials, Michelle had a key role in the emotional conclusion to this case. Clearing the immigration checkpoint into the U.S., Steve was accompanied to the San Bernardino County District’s Attorney’s Office to see his mother for the first time since 1995. The matter had extensive local, national and international attention. Michelle’s contributions to this case were significant.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 San Bernardino County Peace Officer Memorial

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Investigative Technician II Lynn Bonser

Lynn is very organized and always willing to go the extra mile in order to track down discovery. She is dedicated to the mission of the office and always happy to do what she can to achieve justice for victims. During the 2016 Thanksgiving work week, a potential problem surfaced when a Deputy DA was preparing for trial. Along with the assistance of another Investigative Technician, Lynn waited after-hours until the problem was resolved. Lynn’s exceptional diligence and extraordinary efforts over the holiday to support the attorney staff cannot be overstated.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Office Assistant III Kazuko “K” Hewitt

“K” not only worked her desk, in the Wiretap unit, during this period, she also provided support to the Asset Forfeiture unit until a replacement was hired. In addition, she trained the new support personnel hired for the Asset Forfeiture unit. She went above and beyond in both areas. She also is very involved with department and county programs; such as reading to children for the County’s Vision to Read Program and donating blood. “K” is an overall very kind and generous person willing to give her all in any area she commits herself to.

In The News: Paying tribute to fallen heroes

By Michael Ramos 

In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day. The purpose is to pay tribute to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives while serving in the line of duty. Like many of you, I understand and respect the great sacrifices our brave, devoted officers make every day protecting us from danger. They risk their lives and put their personal safety at risk to make sure that we are safe. It’s a selfless endeavor and a truly honorable path that only a few can and will choose to take as a career.

Sadly, though, some officers pay the ultimate price while protecting and serving our communities. Last year, we lost 12 officers in California, a number that always carries significant weight, no matter how high or low it may appear. One fallen officer is one too many.

As District Attorney of San Bernardino County, I have been blessed to work with these heroes. I have witnessed firsthand the dedicated efforts that go into not only ensuring our personal security and protecting our families, but the tireless work that enables our prosecutors to effectively do their job in the courtroom.

The numbers I see that come out of our Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit are always staggering because, to me, they are more than just another filed case or sentencing. Each case, each defendant represents a blatant disdain for law and order. As far as I am concerned, any individual who will assault or interfere with an officer carrying out his or her duties is a threat to law and order and an even bigger threat to every law-abiding citizen.

In 2016 — in our county alone — 214 defendants were sentenced to state prison for a total of 747 years for committing crimes against peace officers. In that same year, an additional 1,146 defendants were sentenced to County Prison and County Jail for a total of 428 years. As for new cases filed that same year, 346 other officers were victims of crime. We will continue to hold those who assault, injure or threaten our officers accountable for their actions.

While today may be a yearly observance, let us not forget the daily sacrifices our law enforcement officers make throughout the entire year. Today we take pause and mourn those we have lost and pray for the families they have left behind. Tomorrow, let us work even harder to prevent future tragedies and find ways to show our gratitude for those who rush to our aid when we are faced with life-threatening danger.

Michael Ramos is San Bernardino County District Attorney.

Click here to read the story.
 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hesperia mother sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of child homicide charges

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Hesperia mother who attacked her 2-year-old child was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison today.

Superior Court Judge Eric M. Nakata in Victorville imposed the term on 25-year-old Jaimi Roberts (pictured left), who was found guilty on March 22 of involuntary manslaughter and assault on a child causing death in connection with the death of her 2-year-old son, Grant Dunn Jr.

At trial, jurors saw Roberts’ video recorded statement in which she said she “dropped elbows” on the child’s abdomen, blows for which an autopsy revealed had ruptured his intestines and caused his death two days later.

“For you to sit here and tell me this was an accident is outrageous,” Judge Nakata said, citing a video recording in which Roberts re-enacts striking the child’s abdomen with her elbow. Roberts claimed at trial and in the interview that she was “play-wrestling” with her son, and on Friday told the court that it was an “accident.”

Deputy District Attorney David Foy, who prosecuted the case, noted that Roberts chose not to obtain medical care for the toddler in the two days after the injury, despite the fact that the victim was vomiting, having difficulty standing, and his legs turned cold.

Quoting a probation report, Judge Nakata said: “The crime involved great bodily harm and/or other acts disclosing a high degree of cruelty, viciousness and callousness in that the victim suffered for an extended period of time after the defendant struck him, and made a conscious decision to avoid medical attention for him until after he lost consciousness.”

Click here to read the previous press release regarding this case.

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Office Assistant III Vivian Lopez

Vivian has demonstrated excellence in her job at the Children’s Assessment Center (CAC). She plays an integral part in making sure that process runs smoothly. Vivian’s bilingual ability has assisted in communicating the Victim Services Program and resources to victims and their families at the CAC.

She is always willing to assist when needed, including her participation in the County’s Safety Coordinator Program for all departments within the CAC.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Office Assistant III Alicia Miller

Alicia was assigned to the Discovery Clerk position last year. Alicia was proactive about contacting the more than 13 different agencies we deal with and forging communications and working relationships. Perhaps more importantly, Alicia makes it a priority to communicate with the respective DDA’s on the status of their discovery requests and follow-up as necessary with the defense counsel.

She does her job excellently, with a great deal of enthusiasm and without complaint. We are very fortunate to have her in this position at this time, as she is the “gatekeeper” for all of our discovery requests.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Deputy District Attorney Kevin Christensen

Kevin always goes above and beyond the call of duty. You don’t need to ever ask for his help, he just gives it. Whether he is assisting his fellow Deputy DA’s or volunteering for a specialized unit, he is the kind of person who silently pitches in and never looks for credit.

Kevin deserves credit for being such an awesome team player and always being there to support his fellow DDA’s in their time of need.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Victim Advocate II Sonja Gonzales

As a Victim Advocate, Sonja is assigned to assist victims and their families. During her 15-year tenure, Sonja has been assigned to assist in a variety of cases; however, she is currently assigned to assist in homicides, adult sexual assault and major crimes cases. 

Recently, Sonja was required to simultaneously assist on two particularly difficult and emotional cases. 


One of those cases involved the murder of an estranged wife and the other involved the sexual molestation of multiple minor victims. During the course of both cases, Sonja was able to adeptly render support to all the families who attended the hearings nearly every day. At the end of every day she also checked in with the two prosecutors on the case to see if she could assist with the next day’s tasks. 

Not only does Sonja competently serve the victims and the families she works with, she is also a tremendous asset to her fellow advocates in the Rancho Cucamonga office. No matter what the request, Sonja is always there to lend a helping hand or to give much needed advice. The Rancho Cucamonga office is grateful that she is part of our prosecution team.



Friday, May 5, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Victim Services Claims Technician Ann Marie Mayhall

Ann Marie possesses a contagious positive energy wherever she goes and whomever she engages. Ann Marie brings an enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and work with others. 

She was selected to attend training for the new Cal VCB CARES2 System in Sacramento, to be our in-house expert once the system is launched. She is true to her commitment and is providing support and guidance to our unit as we begin the new challenge of learning CARES2. 

Ann Marie is an amazing team member and a true joy to be in the presence of and we are fortunate to have her.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Office Assistant III Diana Duarte

Diana is always in a good mood, always smiling, kind, witty and willing to jump right in and help with any kind of work. She makes herself available and is always asking if there is anything she can do to assist.

Diana has a loving heart and has an amazing light of energy inside that makes her want to do her very best every day, even if it is not in her job description.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Rialto man arraigned on contractor and workers’ compensation fraud charges

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Rialto man was arraigned today at the San Bernardino Justice Center on charges of contracting without a valid contractor’s license and operating a contracting business without workers’ compensation insurance.

71-year-old Samuela Tupola (pictured left) is charged with one misdemeanor count of Contracting Without License and one misdemeanor count of Doing Business As An Uninsured Employer. He plead not guilty to both counts at today’s arraignment. 


On March 1, 2017, Senior Investigators from the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office arrested Samuela Tupola, of Rialto, for the two misdemeanor offenses.

This case is assigned to Deputy District Attorney Michael Chiriatti and was investigated by Senior District Attorney Investigator Roger Planas. If convicted as charged, Tupola must serve at least 90 days in jail, and pay fines and fees over $15,000.00. Tupola is scheduled to appear June 6.

“Our workers’ comp. fraud unit was started to create a fair playing field for everybody involved in San Bernardino County,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “When individuals contract without a valid license or engage in business without being properly insured, they feed the underground economy and make it more difficult for legitimate contracts and businesses to compete.” 


If you suspect workers' compensation insurance fraud, believe you are a victim of workers' compensation insurance fraud, or are aware of a business operating without workers’ compensation insurance in San Bernardino County, contact the District Attorney at DAWorkersComp@sbcda.org or call (909) 891-3523.

A great start to the day! Jennifer Krikorian and Camille Oscar were sworn in as San Bernardino County Prosecutors this morning.


Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Senior Investigator Paul DeJong

Senior Investigator DeJong joined the Child Abduction Unit (CAU) two years ago. Since then he has demonstrated lockjaw tenacity to try to crack cases that showed signs of petrification. In doing this, he reaches out to the devastated victim-parents who otherwise would have no hope of knowing again the child that was stolen from their lives.

Senior Investigator DeJong doesn’t seem to rest on weekends or holidays – as a search of his text messages and email histories would surely prove. The word “diligent” comes to mind – a word that descended from Latin roots meaning “to set apart for special care.” His diligence sets him apart because he always and truly cares about his work. 

Senior Investigator DeJong's patience and people skills round out his profile as a star player on the CAU team. He has a knack for de-escalating without demeaning, for straight talk without the serrated edge and for candor mixed with compassion. However optional, such a balance may be in other DA operations, they are vital when dealing with parents at war over their children.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Staff Analyst Karen White

 Karen has been an absolute cornerstone in the Administrative Services Department. Her knowledge of the department is excellent and she is always willing to help.

She strongly believes in the work this office does and this is shown in her work commitment and work ethic. She always completes any projects given to her on time and professionally.

Karen has stepped up to the plate on numerous occasions to handle more than one position in Admin Services and did this with no complaints and still kept up on her workload. She is to be commended. One could not ask for a better employee. Karen Also goes “above and beyond” every day for the Bureau of Investigation management staff.

Congratulations to our Certificate of Excellence Recipient Office Assistant III Sandra Archambault

Sandra recently was cross-trained on issuing duties and picked it up so quickly that she basically cleared the Victorville Annex’s paper backlog in a month. She made good use of the down time in this cross-training period, particularly when her computer was being used by someone else – she was quick to volunteer to file multiple boxes of closed cases. She is also very helpful with suggesting ideas to help make the work flow better for reception.

Monday, May 1, 2017

West Valley Division Gang Unit Hard at Work

Deputy DA Mehtab Sandhu and the West Valley Division staff secured a guilty conviction in the case of a gang member who was in possession of a deadly weapon in the jail. After an hour of deliberation, a jury found Brian Dubrin (pictured left) guilty of possessing a weapon while in jail.



Dubrin is currently serving a 26 to life sentence on his third strike and this conviction can potentially add 12 years consecutive to that sentence. This case was investigation by the West Valley Detention Center.



Shazad Khan (pictured right) was convicted in the 2014 shooting death of 19-year-old Papoose Mitchell. He faces life in prison when sentenced next month.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy DA David Collins and the West Valley Division staff and investigated by the Rialto Police Department.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Big Lots Stores, Inc. to pay $3.5 million to settle hazardous waste violations


District Attorney Mike Ramos, together with 34 other California District Attorneys and 2 City Attorneys, announced today that San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Bryan F. Foster has ordered Ohio-based company Big Lots Stores, Inc., and its subsidiary corporations, that own and operate Big Lots stores and a distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga, to pay $3,507,500 in civil penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental projects.

The judgment is the result of an investigation into Big Lots Stores’ unlawful disposal of hazardous waste at its distribution center and into trash bins at the 206 stores in California.

According to Deputy District Attorney Dan Lough, who was assigned to the case, Big Lots failed to properly handle hazardous waste at both the stores and distribution center.

“The hazardous waste included ignitable and corrosive liquids, toxic materials, batteries, electronic devices and other e-waste,” Deputy DA Lough said. “In some instances, the hazardous waste was the result of overstock or expired merchandise. In others, it was the result of spills, damaged containers, and customer returns.”

Instead of being transported to authorized hazardous waste facilities, the waste was deposited into the trash and illegally transported to local landfills not permitted to receive the waste.


"Companies that deal with hazardous waste are expected to fully comply with the rules and regulations that are meant to protect our citizens and the environment,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “Thanks to hard work and dedication of our Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit, we were able to once again hold another corporation accountable for their negligent actions and bring them into compliance with California’s environmental laws.”

Prosecutors alerted Big Lots to the violations, and the company was cooperative throughout the continued investigation. Under the settlement, Big Lots must pay $2,017,500 in civil penalties and $336,250 to reimburse the costs of investigation.

An additional $350,000 will fund supplemental environmental projects furthering environmental enforcement and consumer protection in California. Big Lots will also fund hazardous waste minimization and enhanced compliance projects valued at $803,750, and has adopted and implemented new policies and procedures and training programs designed to properly manage and dispose of hazardous waste.

The hazardous waste is now being collected by state-registered haulers who transport it to authorized disposal facilities, and disposal is now being properly documented.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Congratulations to Certificate of Excellence Recipient Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus


Debbie has tried all types of cases including murders and gang cases. But her passion is animals. She works tirelessly to prosecute those who hurt and abuse them. She has been the lead attorney of the office’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit since it was formed in April 2016, traveling all over the county to appear on her cases. She is also part of the County’s task force on animal abuse.

In 2016, she fought for a 16-month state prison sentence for a man who beat his girlfriend’s 8-week old pit bull puppy to intimidate her. She prosecuted one of the first cases in the country against a slaughterhouse that tortured cows before butchering them. She has handled numerous cock-fighting ring and dog-fighting cases, as well as horse neglect and animal hoarding. Among her cases that made the news was a man who fatally beat and dragged a Rottweiler on a leash and another who slammed wild rabbits to death.

Debbie frequently teaches other prosecutors, police and animal care officers on the subject of animal abuse. As well as the link between animal and domestic abuse. Animals cannot defend themselves, but they have Debbie on their side!

Monday, April 17, 2017

San Bernardino gang member sentenced to 80 years to life for murder

Juan Fuentes (Booking Photo)
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A documented gang member with a prior strike conviction has been sentenced to 80 years to life in state prison for the murder of 25-year-old Roy Craddock.

Juan Fuentes, 26, of San Bernardino, was sentenced Friday at the San Bernardino Justice Center by Superior Court Judge J. David Mazurek after being convicted of one count of Murder on March 27, 2014.

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jill Gregory, who was formerly assigned to the Central Division Gang Unit, prosecuted the case.

Prior to sentencing one of the victim’s family members addressed the judge:

“We do not understand how another human being, who 
Roy Craddock
bleeds just as we do, could be so quick to pull the trigger and take the life, the very last breath, last drop of blood from the most kind-hearted and loving human being to walk this earth… While we were standing over his casket waiting for him to wake up, give us a hug and tell us it was just a dream, his body never moved. After a while, we were all forced to realize that we were living in a nightmare.”

Statement of Facts

It was a rainy Friday morning—November 4, 2011. The body of a young man was found lying near the entrance of Muscoy Elementary school, with six close-range gunshot wounds to the head.

A custodian at the school came upon the scene of the crime just before school started and alerted authorities. The victim was identified as 25-year-old Roy Craddock, a lifelong resident of Muscoy, who had attended that very elementary school.

“Through interviews with the victim’s family, we were able to find out that the victim had called the night before just after eleven o’clock, asking to be picked up in the vicinity of the school,” said Gregory. 

Gregory added that although family members drove to the location immediately to pick him up, they were unable to locate him and he was not responding to repeated phone calls.  


Surveillance video from the school showed that the victim had passed by the front of the school at 11:19 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2011, and then doubled back towards the flagpole in front of the school as though two individuals there caught his attention.

“The shooting itself was caught on surveillance, although it was shadowy and dark enough to provide only a bare outline of what had occurred there,” said Gregory.  


After a month-long investigation by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Team, then-Sgt. Brad Toms and Detectives Landaeta, Johnson, Peterson and Cannon, questioned Fuentes, who was 20-years-old at the time.

Fuentes later admitted to investigators that he shot the victim, claiming self-defense.

According to Gregory, the surveillance video proved helpful in casting doubt on the defendant’s claim, as it showed the defendant’s contact with the victim to be under forty seconds in length.