Prosecutors of Kelly Thomas' Killers Allowed Access to Ex-Cops' Files (to the Chagrin of City)
See the update on the City of Fullerton's opposition to and planned appeal of the judge's decision to allow prosecutors a look at Ramos and Cicinelli's employment records.
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 27, 12:52 P.M.: The judge overseeing the Kelly Thomas murder trial ruled today that prosecutors can review employment records of ex-Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli. But Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg held off a decision on whether any information from the cops' jackets will be admitted into evidence during the trial.
Prosecutors had filed a motion seeking access to the records to rebut last week's testimony by Fullerton Police Cpl. Stephen Rubio.
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Rubio had claimed the officers mostly or fully acted within the city's policy when the transient was violently subdued and killed at the Fullerton Transportation Center on July 5, 2011.
Ramos is charged with the second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter of Thomas, while ex-Cpl. Cincinelli faces the latter count as well as use of excessive force. Former Officer Joe Wolfe, who was also indicted for involuntary manslaughter and using excessive force, is to be tried separately.
City News Service reports the trial of Ramos and Cicinelli is scheduled to pick up again on Jan. 6.
UPDATE, DEC. 27, 2:58 P.M.: Judge Froberg's ruling today only applies to release of the sections of Ramos and Cicinelli's employment records that pertain to the struggle between Kelly Thomas and six Fullerton police officers.
But as Paul Anderson reports for City News Service, even that limited examination drew a strong rebuke--not from the defense but the City of Fullerton.
For reasons not made clear, Attorney Greg Palmer, representing the city, made a motion opposing prosecutors' access to the records, something that confused Judge Froberg.
"What is prejudicial to the city'' in the records? the judge asked. "Frankly, I don't see anything."
It's not like prosecutors are going after the city. What Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus told Froeberg he is after is an indication that Ramos and Cicinelli were fired for violating city policy as a result of killing Kelly Thomas.
"I suppose the evidence is there was an investigation and a determination was made there were training and policy violations," Bogardus told Froeberg.
If that is reflected in the records, Bogardus further explained, it would counter Fullerton Police Cpl. Stephen Rubio and Sgt. Kevin Craig, who testified for the defense that Ramos and Cicinellia acted within policy.
"The people should be entitled to rebut that testimony," Bogardus said.
The people of Fullerton don't want that to happen--or at least the attorney for the city doesn't as Palmer said he will file an appeal of Froeberg's ruling. The city has only publicly stated Ramos and Cicinelli were terminated.
Palmer, defense attorneys and the prosecutors are scheduled to return to court Jan. 3 for Froberg's ruling on whether he will allow the information in the employment records to be entered as evidence in the trial. Depending on how that goes, the defense may file its own motion to suppress, which could delay the trial.
For now, the trial is still scheduled to pick up Jan. 6. Froberg's evidence ruling will inform prosecutors on whether to call a witness related to the employment records or a physician, Anderson reports.
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