A couple of weeks ago, the San Diego County DUI Law Center reminded the public that California police do lie and have been caught. See this Attorney Blog. Here we go again.
The Los Angeles Times reports today that a couple of LA Sheriff's deputies arrested two men: one on suspicion of having an unregistered firearm, another for possessing Ecstasy in the presence of a firearm.
A year later, the Sheriff's Internal Criminal Investigation Bureau began investigating the incident, the Los Angeles district attorney's office said.
During that inquiry, officials discovered a video recording from inside the dispensary that they say was "inconsistent" with the deputies' reports.
Charges filed against one of the men falsely arrested were dropped, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office. But the second man had already pleaded no contest to the drug charge before investigators determined the evidence was planted, she said.
Now the deputies have been charged with planting guns at a medical marijuana dispensary to arrest two men, one of whom prosecutors said was sentenced to a year in jail before the bad evidence was discovered.
Julio Cesar Martinez, 39, and Anthony Manuel Paez, 32, face two felony counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and altering evidence, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced Wednesday.
Martinez was charged with two additional felony counts of perjury and one count of filing a false report.
If convicted of the charges, the former deputies face more than seven years in prison.
Martinez said he followed the man to the dispensary and watched him discard the gun near a trash can, the complaint says. The deputies said they found a second gun sitting on a desk near some Ecstasy pills.
In court documents filed last week, prosecutors said that on Aug. 24, 2011, the pair shut off electricity and a video surveillance system inside the dispensary, then planted the weapons. Martinez and Paez were patrolling West 87th Place that day when Martinez said he saw a man with a gun in his shorts pocket take part in a drug deal, the felony complaint states.
But prosecutors said that Martinez had kicked a wall outlet to shut off the electricity, and that Paez then opened a drawer, pulled out a gun and put it on a chair.
Prosecutors said Paez planted another gun on top of the desk, which he had crawled under to disable the security system.