By Gustavo Arellano
By OC Weekly Staff
By R. Scott Moxley
By Michelle Woo
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gabriel San Roman
By Gustavo Arellano
Armed with a fearsome scowl and standing at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Orange County gangster Ramiro Alex Huerta is probably accustomed to people listening attentively when he speaks.
But Huerta, 38, can't get anybody to listen to him nowadays.
Following a 2008 attempted-murder conviction and longer-than-life prison sentence, he wants everyone to know he has been railroaded by the criminal-justice system, including dirty sheriff's deputies, conniving lawyers and callous judges.
Huerta—who goes by the moniker "Oso" (Spanish for "Bear") in the La Habra-based Monos criminal street gang—is incredulous because, he says, both the prosecutor and his own defense lawyer worked to convict him, a scenario he calls un-American. While inmates often make wild claims, this one has evidence behind it: Lawyers on both sides kept potentially key exculpatory information from the jury.
Jose Garcia, the alleged jailhouse-stabbing victim and a member of the Santa Ana-based F-Troop gang, insists Huerta and Carlos Luna, a co-defendant and a member of the Stanton-based Crow Village gang, are innocent. In fact, Garcia took the extraordinary step of sending Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly a letter exonerating the two defendants. But nobody called Garcia to testify at the trial.
When that scenario didn't bother a California appellate court, Huerta took his case to the federal judiciary. He sent officials a neatly handwritten complaint that blamed his attempted-murder and assault-with-a-deadly-weapon convictions on an inept defense lawyer and a win-at-all-costs prosecutor. Absent Garcia's testimony, he asserted that jurors had to rely on the word of two deputies, James Van Patten and Dale Clifton, who claim they witnessed the attack inside the Theo Lacy Jail.
But Huerta insists the deputies fabricated the story. He said the allegedly intended murder weapon, a shank, was never found. He also noted this eyebrow-raising issue: According to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, jail-surveillance video that could have supported the officers' story "began malfunctioning" at the time of the incident.
Not calling Garcia to testify, failing to recover a weapon and claiming a mysteriously missing video are "red flags" that signal the "unreliability of the process" that permanently robbed him of his freedom, argued Huerta.
This month, U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner, a George W. Bush appointee to the bench, received the findings of Jean P. Rosenbluth, a reviewing magistrate and former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles. Acknowledging her interpretation of the evidence tilted to favor the government, Rosenbluth wasn't the least bit suspicious of the video-malfunction excuse that's routinely employed following complaints of deputy wrongdoing. She accepted the jail deputies' stories as gospel.
To Huerta's immense frustration, Rosenbluth also seemed to sanction the notion it was legally fair the jury never heard Garcia's exculpatory testimony because of a slippery-slope argument: The victim is a gang member, and gang members lie; therefore Huerta must be guilty if a fellow gangster says he's innocent.
Rosenbluth concluded that nothing in the conviction had been "unreasonable."
"It would be an understatement to say that short shrift was given to [my] claims," Huerta wrote after reviewing Rosenbluth's recommendations. "This is actually offensive to traditional justice in America. No need for defense witnesses? No need for citizen jurors to determine material facts. Voodoo and the government's Ouija board will suffice?"
Without adding his own explanation, Klausner sided with Rosenbluth. The ruling has stark consequences for Huerta. After he spends the rest of his life in prison and dies, he'll still owe two additional years of incarceration.
Sadly, Huerta's experience is hardly unique. Earlier this month, I wrote about Jesus Arturo Aguirre, an 18-year-old Eastside Buena Park gangster who got a life-in-prison sentence on April 6 for his secondary role as a 16-year-old in a 2010 attempted murder of a rival hoodlum, who—as in Huerta's case—insisted Aguirre was innocent.
RAPIST ANAHEIM COP DEMANDS NEW TRIAL
Bradley Stewart Wagner, the Anaheim police officer who targeted three illegal immigrants near Disneyland for violent sexual assaults while on duty, is nothing if not persistent. This week, Wagner—who managed to stall his criminal case for more than five years—sent his criminal defense lawyer to the California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana with hopes of overturning the generous four-year prison sentence he negotiated in a 2010 plea bargain.
Farah F. Azar, the most recent of at least four defense lawyers who've represented Wagner, told a three-justice panel that Superior Court Judge Walter P. Schwarm violated the dirty cop's constitutional rights by ignoring overwhelming evidence that Wagner had been exceptionally high on prescription drugs in court when he agreed to the plea deal.
"At the time of the pleas, he was under the influence," Azar said. "Courts must make sure when a defendant enters a plea, he knows what he [is] doing. . . . [Wagner had] consumed mind-altering drugs, [and] we submit there was an abuse of [the judge's] discretion [by not voiding the guilty plea]."
But Deputy Attorney General Karl T. Terp reminded the justices that Wagner, who is housed at the California Institution for Men in Chino, has repeatedly raised and lost the same argument [see "Mr. Wagner (Finally) Goes to Prison," Dec. 22, 2010]. After the cop signed the plea deal that chopped seven years off the maximum potential prison punishment and acknowledged in writing that he wasn't under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Schwarm spoke one-on-one with him. In the judge's view, Wagner "appeared to be cognizant," said Terp.
Carlos Luna and the rest of the crow village bed wetters need to be in a urine filled cell. Why defend gang members and their gay white socks/ LMAo?
Rammy, if you grow your goatee all the way around your mouth and tilt your head sideways your mouth looks like a vagina. Hope that helps,love Mom
being in a street gang is like running across a freeway, one of the cars is going to hit you. sooner or later you will be charged and found guilty.If you were let out tomorrow you would be back in within a year. 6 ft. 3 and 240 don't mean shit to me, punk.your girlfriend is banging your best friend already and your kids call him poppy. your quarterly packages aren't coming.quit calling collect.
A Mexican tried to sell me a zebra once... it was a burro with stripes on it. The Mexican swore up and down it was a zebra.
The criminal justice system is always faulty when you lose your case. Being in a criminal street gang (cowards and sissies) is like eating at del taco, sooner or later you will shit your pants. You win some and you lose some....you lost..Don't go to jail and the cops won't pick on you. Pick up your pants, stop wearing those gay white knee socks and get a nice hair cut.
It is becoming evermore obvious there is one set of laws in this nation, and 2 interpretations, one for the wealthy and politically connected and another for the rest. I believe underpaid jurors are in such a hurry to get back to making a living that they just hastily agree with whatever the government says. I believe they have a "if they did not do something wrong they would not be here" attitude. I also believe that people are brainwashed with TV cop shows.
I am curious though, even if a weapon was not found, was there a wound or not? Another thing that raises a question in my mind, is if the victim never testified, then how could he recant testimony?
Weren't "gangbangers" the bogeymen of the 1980's & 1990's? Now the bogeymen are Muslim terrorists, and in the 1950's & 1960's the bogeymen were Commies... Govern by Fear! The American way.
Pardon me while I pass some gas. This is the reaction I get to two whiney "bangers," who have both left a long trail of victims behind. Now, when it is time for them to pay the piper, they claim to have been screwed by the System. To these guys and others like them I say, "If you can't do the time, then don't do the crime." Man up and take your medicine.
When the victim is himself in prison, nothing he says has any credibility. He could easily have been pressured by other prison gang members to write those letters. I say fry them all. Good job Law Enforcement!
This article essentially equates to an advertisement for the attraction to joining local street gangs which are similar, except in efficiency, to terrorist "gangs"! How about this?! Take responsibility for being a complete f*** up, be honest about what piece of s*** you are and, either, kill yourself to rid the rest of the law abiding world of yourself or come clean, get locked up and, if it doesnt get you raped or killed, see where your esteem takes you in the world of prison gangs.
my hand is raised in opposition to gang terrorism! these societal blood suckers are worse than al-qaeda!
As one who has the misfortune of crossing his path and knowing him for years, I can say from my personal opinion and experience that Wagner is a total creep and a liar. You should have heard the kind of stuff he did before he got caught. Lies, lies, lies. I wondered why when he did the things he did on duty, it was pretty hushed up and they gave him his retirement, etc. That all seemed very wrong to me. The measly 4 years he fanagled after 5 years of delaying his trial is not nearly enough for him. What goes round comes round, buddy and at last you are getting some of yours. You also have not heard the last from the wacko wife either, she likes to get in the middle of things for the attention.
PS: I wonder how many people in OC are aware of the fact that ex-sheriff Mike Carona is doing time in FEDERAL PRISON in Colorado yet STILL drawing his $20,000 a month pension.
You read that right: a CONVICTED FELON is STILL on the U.S. taxpayer dole!
If this douchebag were anyone ELSE, his pension would have been CONFISCATED at trial as part of his sentencing. This is why I WIPE MY ASS with the U.S. flag and want to EMIGRATE from Obama's Shythole Nation.
As a AOUSC certifed court interpreter, I've personally witnessed DOZENS of instances of civil rights abuses and judicial improprieties while working in both state & federal courts. To the point where I now REFUSE to work in either venue and limit myself exclusively to doing outside depositions.
The U.S. NO LONGER ABIDES BY RULE OF LAW. This is a sad fact. To the point where I believe that all U.S. courts should have a disclaimer carved into the masonry above the entrance saying: "Abandon all hope all ye that enter here".
The American judicial system is DISGUSTING.
As for Bradley Stewart Wagner...hang this dirt bag by his balls. This animal was using The "Color of Authority" to attack and rape...he should be given MORE time behind bars for that offense alone.
According to your article this was a "Jailhouse-stabbing"...you neglected to mention what Mr. Huerta was in jail for, which may have had something to do with WHY he received a longer than death sentence for this particular crime (past street terrorism convictions perhaps?).
You also neglected to say what Mr. Garcia was in jail for...which may have had something to do with NOT using him as a defense witness. Somehow a "letter" from the victim, exonerating the criminal wouldn't hold much weight with ANYONE, since it would seem most recanted testimony is under duress of retaliation, especially when dealing with gangs.
The whole story would be nice.
Nice try "Buttercup": As I clearly stated, all of the players were incustody as known gang members. You imply you've been cheated out of the reason for the greater than life punishment because you guess it might have pertained to the reason Huerta was in jail in the first place. But you are wrong. Again, as I clearly stated in English, he was a gang member convicted of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon stemming from the jail incident. The alleged gang activity charges that originally brought him to jail were dropped and had no role in his punishment which is why it wasn't mentioned.
I was questioning the reason he was in jail in the first place, thus requesting the "whole story". The fact that his original charges that brought him to jail would have been pertinent information (to me anyway) and the fact that they were dismissed might have provided a bit of leniency towards the situation.
The snarky "Nice try" not really warranted.
Thank you for the reply, and yes I have been "spewing" quite frequently, I appreciate that you agree with some of my other comments :)
You wrote that I omitted the full story "WHY" (your caps) he got the life plus sentence when I clearly had not done so. I'm not being snarky as I am correcting misinformation you decided to spew. And, by the way, I agree with many of your other comments...
Actually, I have to agree with Buttercup in part. The fact that the charges were dropped would be a nice tidbit of info. Depending on which direction you were leaning on the story. Good story though. well written.
On a separate note, the slippery slope argument with bringing in a rival gang member as a character witness, has some basis in truth. It goes back to the theory the enemy of my enemy is my ally. If two rival gangs at some point share a common enemy, it is feasible to think that they would ally for the purposes of overcoming the other enemy. In that process, could the change of heart over an old dispute (jailhouse stabbing) be a negotiated good faith attempt by f-troop to show their allegiance to monos even if for a short period? No harm, no foul, just forgive and forget until our common goal is achieved.
Without more background on the corporate relationship between monos and f-troop, the judge does have to consider the possibility that the recanting of the victim is as a result of duress or other means.
There's no difference between a domestic violence victim recanting and the conviction being upheld and this. While I'm a proponent of eliminating rotten cops from the ranks, this case doesn't hold enough water to throw out a conviction because the testimony of 2 deputies was the "only" direct evidence.
Okay "Matt": You have decided to ignore a long list of recent OC sheriff's deputy corruption cases as well as the fact that, in this case, the deputies couldn't produce a weapon to support their tale and that they claimed the jail video suddenly malfunctioned precisely at the time of the alleged incident. How are those blinders over your eyes feeling? Bottomline as someone who has covered OC courts/crime for 17 years: deputies lie and cheat. In fact, some of the most warped, juvenile and petty pieces of shit I have ever known have a badge in Southern California...
dirty sheriff's deputies, conniving lawyers and callous judges.
This is very VERY TRUE. - 80 percent of all cops are criminals and violate the law/s while on duty and off duty.
I have an off topic question though: Why is it that when something is up and running and working just fine but maybe with only a few problems that can be ignored or fixed quickly that women have to come along and change what is working and has worked and they cause you problems after you have explained to them what the problem/s are. It takes me time and effort to fix what they took apart and then they won't leave you alone about it and call you the stupid and idiot one. "I am not committing a crime here just asking to get some answers"!
Raise your hand if you're tired of the nonsense that goes on in Judge M. Marc Kelly's courtroom.
Next time this guy is up for reelection can we please find somebody to run against him?
Mox, thanks again for your excellent reporting.
P.S. Quit your crying, Bradley Wagner. I can only imagine he's acting like a complete pain in the ass pussy in prison.
I got a ticket dismissed by myself because the cop lied and violated State Law/s.The homeless court could not help because they would not answer thier emails, the ticket cost them more than it was worth and took them at least a year or more to dismiss and and then the commish/judge told me that I needed to look more closely at the way the laws were written but I had already done that and got the ticket dismissed.So the commish/judge was WRONG.