Martinez Gets 35 More Days

January 7, 2015

All Posts, News

In a legal proceeding that had all the dignity and decorum of happy hour at a lawyer bar, the case against Mongol David Martinez was continued for another 35 days this morning. Martinez will be held without bail in Los Angeles’ notorious Twin Towers Jail. He has been there since October 28.

This was Martinez fourth appearance in court and he was represented by his third lawyer. He was charged October 30 with the murder of Pomona Swat Officer Shaun Diamond with an enhancement for murdering a police officer on duty and another enhancement for being a member of a “criminal street gang.”

He was in court on November 13 at which time his arraignment was postponed because his family had been unable to raise the fee for Pasadena attorney Tom Medrano who was then Martinez’ attorney of record. He pled not guilty on December 3. At that hearing Medrano withdrew from the case and Martinez was briefly represented by public defender Mearl Lottman. Lottman asked for another preliminary hearing citing the “voluminous discovery” in the case. This morning Martinez was represented by a public defender named Brady B. Sullivan. Sullivan asked Judge Renee F. Korn for another preliminary hearing on February 11.

Murder Book

Sullivan told Judge Korn he hadn’t yet seen the “murder book” in the case. The term refers to the official file of the investigation that would include photographs and diagrams of the crime scene; Officer Diamond’s autopsy report; forensic reports that would indicate whether Diamond, Martinez or anyone else on scene fired a weapon; transcriptions of investigators’ notes; and interviews with everyone at the scene. Sullivan said he “was just getting started with the discovery process.”

The circumstances of Diamond’s death are unusual. He was killed in the course of a dynamic entry Swat raid carried out at four in the morning. It was one of seven simultaneous raids and, although it was technically excused as the service of a search warrant, it was unequivocally intended as a form of extrajudicial punishment for Martinez’ membership in a motorcycle club. Although “no knock” entries are illegal in California, the amount of time allowed for home owners to get out of bed can, in fact, be minimal and unreasonable. Martinez’ mother, father, wife, his two children and his mentally challenged sister were all in the home at the time the police threw a flash bang grenade inside.

The official police narrative of the incident is that Martinez hid behind his father and fired a shotgun. Supposedly, the blast simultaneously wounded the senior Martinez and struck Officer Diamond in the back of the head. At the time, Diamond was on the front porch and he was wearing body armor and a helmet. In addition to Martinez’ father, two additional Swat officers were between Martinez and Diamond. A source The Aging Rebel considers to be informed said that immediately after the flash bang grenade exploded an officer standing near Diamond was heard to say “I’m so sorry man.”

Blue On Blue

The case against Martinez may be as open and shut as it has been routinely portrayed to be in the local press. The typical  headlines last Fall all read something like “Deranged Mongol Gangster Murders Hero Cop For Serving Warrant.” But if that is the case why haven’t any of Martinez’ three lawyers – so far – yet seen the evidence against him?

Most lawyers in Los Angeles seem to think that it is at least possible that Diamond died as a result of friendly fire. In the last two years police in Colorado, Detroit and New York have died from so-called blue-on-blue shootings. A soundman working for the realty television show Cops was killed by police in Omaha and policemen in San Francisco, Oakland and Virginia were wounded by friendly fire.

It is rare for one Swat officer to kill another but it is not unprecedented and police usually try to cover up such incidents. In 2001, police in Lubbock jailed a man for killing a Swat officer but had to let him go when it was proven he did not fire the fatal shot. A Dallas Swat officer was hit by friendly fire in 2006. And in 2007 a man Rialto, California named Krist Antonio Wiggins was charged with the murder of a Swat Officer named Sergio Carrera Jr. A Rialto Swat Officer at the scene of that killing said Carrera died as a result of friendly fire but later explained that wasn’t what he meant and that he had only chosen his words poorly. Wiggins defenders alleged a police cover up. Wiggins was eventually found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Share
, , ,

22 Responses to “Martinez Gets 35 More Days”

  1. Road Whore Says:

    @ popeye and Ol’Goat: Amen and amen.

    Ride Free

  2. Ol'Goat Says:

    Joe said: “That is an interesting perspective, but realistically would not meet the standard. Prosecutors would have to be able to show the officers were engaged in a felony when Officer Diamond was shot, and if they were serving a legally obtained warrant…”

    What kops call “warrants” often aren’t. The elements of a warrant are…….well, you go figure out what the elements of a warrant are. The elements of a table are at least three legs attached to a flat horizontal surface. If all the elements aren’t there, then it wasn’t a warrant. It may have been a worthless piece of paper that someone referred to as “warrant”. Don’t assume the paper kops claimed was a warrant met the requirements of the law and possessed all factual elements of a warrant, it likely didn’t.

  3. VAGO 1%er Says:

    Still….a pretty fucked up deal for Mr. Martinez.

    Best of luck to you David.

  4. popeye Says:

    Cops should be made to carry insurance paid for out of their own pocket. Just like many other occupations. When a cop screws up and shoots an innocent person his rates would go up or get cancelled so he couldnt work. Civil suits would be paid by the cops insurance not the taxpayers. It might make cops think before they act. Theres such a thing as error and omission insurance that would cover this. There needs to be more accountability.
    Thomas Paine said in the rights of Men
    “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody , ought not to be trusted by anybody”

  5. popeye Says:

    Cops should be made to carry insurance paid for out of their own pocket. Just like many other occupations. When a cop screws up and shoots an innocent person his rates would go up or get cancelled so he couldnt work. Civil suits would be paid by the cops insurance not the taxpayers. It might make cops think before they act. Theres such a thing as error and omission insurance that would cover this. There needs to be more accountability.
    Thomas Paine said in the rights of Men
    “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody , ought not to be trusted by anybody”

  6. Ride On Says:

    The same rules:
    Don’t apply
    Have never applied
    Won’t ever apply
    The courts don’t care
    The courts don’t care if you care
    The courts don’t care if anybody cares

    Its the unfortunate reality of the system we are subjected to

  7. Joe Says:

    Fiat Lux,

    That is an interesting perspective, but realistically would not meet the standard. Prosecutors would have to be able to show the officers were engaged in a felony when Officer Diamond was shot, and if they were serving a legally obtained warrant that would be next to impossible as they were acting at the direction of a judge who ordered the search via search warrant. My point was there is a possibility Martinez could be charged for the murder even if he didn’t fire the fatal shot, as the argument will be he was actively engaged in a felony (either brandishing a weapon at a peace officer or being in possession of an illegal weapon) when Officer Diamond was killed. I do not know all of the facts in this case so my perspective is just based on what I have read here. Additionally, it will be fairly easy for a pathologist to determine what type of round killed Officer Diamond (shotgun pellet as opposed to 40 caliber or high velocity round). In my experience most SWAT officers do not carry shotguns during dynamic entry situations, but I may be wrong on that point…

  8. popeye Says:

    @Fiat Lux
    You are right in your interpretation of the law as I see it. If only the law were so simple and not made to punish only 1 side. I’d love to see a lawyer argue this. Everyone should be judged by the same rules

  9. Glenn S., Prospect Says:

    The simplest explanation usually being the correct one, the cop was probably clumsily shot in the back of the neck by another cop standing behind him. I’m not up on California law, but here in SC there’s a law often called “the hand of one is the hand of all” (meaning that if two people set out to commit a crime, and someone, anyone dies as a result, all co-conspirators are equally guilty of murder). A friend of mine was on death row for 8 years behind that law, and the US Supreme court eventually ruled (after several rulings that the SC courts incorrectly interpreted) that the attendant burdan shifting was unconstitutional. Some of the case law cited in my friends case might be relevant to this case: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/89-7691.ZO.html

  10. Rebel Says:

    Dear Fiat Lux,

    Good point.

    Rebel

  11. Fiat Lux Says:

    When Joe brought up the Felony Murder Rule, I initially thought he was going in a different direction, i.e., that all of the law enforcement officers engaged in this “dynamic” assault on U.S. citizens should be charged with murder as a result of participating in this illegal and felonious atrocity and the death of one of their own.

  12. Apache (Eochaidh) WarDance Says:

    If Mr. Martinez fired his shotgun as the front door was swinging open before he saw who was coming in, he was prudent. Someone had already thrown in an explosive device endangering his family. At that time there was no reason to wait and see what was going down because it had already gone down. So, he was not committing a felony. If Mr. Martinez pulled his shot (-gun) to the side at the same time he pulled the trigger when he realized they were police who were coming through the front door, then, he had no intent to harm the police. Furthermore, the cops were jammed up the door while coming in. According to Aging Rebel (his second-hand information) there were two officers at the door in front of officer Diamond. Mr. Martinez with his shotgun and his father may have had the drop on them. The only thing the two Officers wedged in the door could do was to drop down on their knees providing a clean shot at officer Diamond. Officer Diamond, being blocked in front from kneeling down and blocked from moving to either side by other Officers may have done the only thing he could — turn around. When Mr. Martinez pulled his shot at the same instant that he pulled the trigger, upon realizing that the police were the ones coming through the front door, the shotgun pellets sprayed in an arc to the side and unfortunately, one pellet struck officer Diamond in the back of the head and one or more other pellets struck Mr. Martinez’s father in the arm. Because the cops had stopped coming in, Mr. Martinez had time to lie down and put his weapon to the side. The police didn’t have time to react until Mr. Martinez and his family had surrendered. So if accurate, there will be gun powder residue on Mr. Martinez and the District Attorney will spin what happened to deny that Mr. Martinez acted in way that not only would have defended his family from members from another bike club who intended to murder the Martinez family because Mr. Martinez is a member of the Mongol Nation; but the D.A. will deny that Mr. Martinez is a hero for trying to prevent the loss of police lives by pulling his shot. Mr. Martinez is not only brave, as was proven by coming to the door to confront unknown intruders, but he is also very intelligent for having pulled his shot the instant he saw the police.

  13. los Says:

    Yes Popeye- that is the part that confuses me. There is NO WAY a SWAT team would have stood around while being fired upon. There would have been an automatic reflex that would have taken out Martinez and all others in that house immediately. They would have never stopped to help another officer while there was a “clear and present danger” to their lives. They claim Martinez put down the gun once he saw that they were police officers…he would have never had enough time to put the gun down before taking a few bullets.
    BUT, lets say that account of the event is true. That he fired at an intruder, noticed it was a SWAT team, and put the gun down and “assumed the position”..that to me is enough to acquit him. He was protecting his family from a perceived intruder..regardless if that intruder was a cop, he has that right.

  14. popeye Says:

    I haven’t heard anyone say that Martinez actually brandished a weapon . I have heard that cops were looking for weapons. If Martinez had a gun in his hand he wouldnt be around to arrest. Every cop would have unloaded into him. No weapon no felony murder rule . Was a weapon found on martinez? was his hands bagged and checked for GSR? Where were Martinez’s Fathers wounds and are they consistant with the “official version” ? Why no murder weapon being held over some cops head at a press conference? What felony was he committing other than being a member of a MC ?

  15. T Hell Says:

    In the most recent incarnation of this fairy tale from the police side is that Diamond led the breech of the door, then without clearing the room or stepping aside for others to do so he turned his back to the house to hear a command from behind him when he was shot by Martinez. I personally don’t believe a word of it but if this cop was stupid enough to do this during a military style breech the community is probably much safer without him.

  16. CN Says:

    Just curious. Is there any organized effort to raise the funds to retain Tom Medrano, Esq.? If so, what’s his rate and what’s his batting average? Has a defense fund FB page been set up or anything similarly done? Not trying to offend or disrespect, but time is of the essence here. Just because he’s down don’t mean he’s out. Best of luck to the Vagos.

  17. AVAGOVFFV Says:

    Joe, There is not a once of disrespect intended here but it sounds to me this would be a great opportunity for some skilled lawyer(s) to do some pro bono work on this and another case in Nevada.

    Walk the walk.

    VFFV LVDV
    Viva Los Vagos

  18. Meh Says:

    Defense lawyers need to find out more about the projectiles if they’ve not been tampered with.

    Spectrometry can tell which projectiles came from what batch of ammo, unless by bizarre “coincidence” Martinez and the police bought the same brand and lot from the same gun store.

  19. Rebel Says:

    Dear Joe,

    Yeah, I think applying the felony murder rule here is a stretch though. I do not know that Martinez has a felony conviction. He might but I don’t know about it. So he might have been perfectly within his rights to have a gun in his home. The police were breaking into his house at 4 a.m. And, he was disoriented by a flash bang grenade. If the prosecution goes that way it will turn into a trial of the Mongols MC. Martinez’ family was victimized by this raid. If there is a trial, I wouldn’t be shocked if they testify about how traumatic and disorienting the raid was. I think it will be a hard sell to a jury.

    Personally, I think the ATF, who was behind the raid, is after something else.

    Rebel

  20. Joe Says:

    Under the California Felony Murder Rule a person engaged in a felony during which a death occurs can be charged with murder even if they had no intent to kill:

    “Most forms of murder require an intent to commit death. Felony murder only requires the intent to commit the felony. During the course of the felony, any homicide will be considered murder, whether it’s intentional or accidental. This is called the felony murder rule.

    Under the felony murder rule, all participants of a felony can be charged with murder if a homicide occurs. This is true even if a participant isn’t directly responsible for the death. For example, the driver of a getaway car can be charged with felony murder if his partner accidently shoots someone while attempting to rob a bank.”

    There is a good chance that even if it was friendly fire, he will be charged with murder because Shaun Diamond died while Martinez was committing an apparent felony, brandishing a firearm at a peace officer….

    Not saying it is right, just pointing it out…

Leave a Reply