Division 30 of the Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles is a northern suburb of Hell. Those who will be judged murmur and tremble as they wait to be called before an officious judge named Sergio Tapia. The prejudged stand alone, one at a time, in a kind of dog run made of bullet proof glass a car length or so from the judge’s left hand. Prejudged cop killer David Martinez has been standing there about once a month since last October 30.
Martinez is accused of killing a Swat cop named Shaun Diamond. At the time he was fatally shot, Diamond and a baker’s dozen other cops, dressed up for Halloween like ninja special forces operators, were breaking into Martinez’ home in the middle of a moonless night. Somehow, Diamond was shot in the back of the head and he died the next day. Martinez’ father was wounded in the arm either by a shotgun round fired by his son or by a flash bang grenade thrown by police. Martinez’ mother, sister, wife and children were not harmed, only bullied.
Cue Caitlyn Jenner
The assault on Martinez’ home was one of seven simultaneous raids on homes occupied by members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club. Police said they were looking for a gun and that they intended to abort an incipient gang war between Mongols and Hells Angels. The raids were carried out by militarized police, police spokesmen explained, because Mongols are very, very dangerous. And the raid occurred at four in the morning because otherwise villains like the Mongols might be awake. And if they were awake they might flush the gun down a toilet. The news establishment in Los Angeles refused to question what the police said as if only communists, anarchists and Moslem fundamentalists dare to question the police. Also, if you are a reporter and you do not blindly accept what the police tell you then the police won’t talk to you at all. And, try explaining that to your metro editor.
So the official version of how David Martinez became a monthly regular in Division 30 is that a psychopathic gang member killed a police hero. Then everybody got furious at the gang member and felt sad for the hero. The end. Cue Caitlyn Jenner.
Meanwhile every criminal defense lawyer in El lay presumed Diamond had been killed by friendly fire and wondered how long the rest of Martinez’ life in prison might be.
Martinez is now on his fourth lawyer. His first advocate was a private attorney named Tom Medrano who was, as lawyers say, unable to reach a financial arrangement with the Martinez family. He was briefly replaced by public defender Mearl Lottman who then handed the case over to Brady Sullivan. Sullivan is at least in the discussion as the best criminal defense lawyer in the city. He also has some detractors who think he is rude.
Now Sullivan has been replaced by Edward Anthony Esqueda who says he wants a jury to hear his client’s version of how Shaun Diamond came to be dying on Martinez’ front porch. This morning, Esqueda said, “My client is adamant that he’s not guilty of the charge” of murder.
Both sides think they can win.
A usually informed source with knowledge of the prosecution thinks there may be a forensic trail of breadcrumbs connecting Martinez’ hand, a shotgun and Diamond’s fatal wound. The prosecution may also have a video recording of Martinez telling another prisoner in Los Angeles’ Twin Towers Jail that he “killed a cop.”
A source The Aging Rebel believes is informed about undisclosed details of the case claims that “information discovered during Diamond’s autopsy proves Martinez is innocent.” The defense may also introduce video of the actual Swat raid. This page believes that such a video exists and that it was recorded by a neighbor, not by police
Most of the evidence the two sides hold is unlikely to be publically disclosed until a jury can hear it. “We’re going to trial,” Esqueda said. “We’re going to let a jury decide.”
There’s no trial date yet. There will be a “readiness hearing” on July 15 and another preliminary hearing on July 28. If Martinez and Esqueda think they’re ready, a trial might begin before fall.