Friday, April 25, 2014

Justice at last for Jason Moore? Prosecution by Bonnie Dumanis for taking two hours off work now proven to be political

It's about time that the abusive political prosecution of Jason Moore should be rectified. Steve Castaneda also seeks information about the political prosecution he endured.

See recent revelation: Phone Call Raises Questions About DA Dumanis’ Chula Vista Investigations

News Of Dumanis Call Prompts Request To Strike Plea Deal
By Amita Sharma
April 24, 2014

An aide to former Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla wants to undo his 2008 misdemeanor guilty plea.

Jason Moore's defense attorney says his client should have been told about District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis' call when he was charged.

The request follows news of a call San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis made before she investigated Chula Vista city officials.

In 2007, former Padilla aide Jason Moore faced five felony charges for perjury. Moore was caught spying on the political enemy of his boss at an event during work hours. Prosecutors said Moore lied about when he submitted a request to take time off from work. Moore ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in a deal with the DA’s office.

Moore’s attorney Knut Johnson said that deal would have never been cut today. Johnson says revelations in a KPBS story this week changed everything.

The story reported that Dumanis called then-Mayor Padilla in 2006 just weeks before she started investigating Chula Vista city officials. Padilla said Dumanis asked him to appoint her own aide to a vacant Chula Vista City Council seat. Padilla refused and soon afterward, she launched her probes.

"If the district attorney called up Mr. Moore’s boss and tried to get that boss to make a city council seat available for one of her employees and then when refused a week later started an investigation that included subpoenaing Mr. Moore to the grand jury, that was undisclosed and we should have known about that," John said. "It's such an obvious conflict of interest."

Johnson said he plans to file court papers arguing that Moore’s plea deal was obtained illegally. The DA’s office said it had no comment at this time.

Here's one of my early posts about the Jason Moore case:

Is Jason Moore the Dale Akiki of Bonnie Dumanis?
May 20, 2007

Tanya Mannes writes about Bonnie Dumanis' mysterious "Public Integrity Unit" in this morning's San Diego Union-Tribune:

"In existence about 14 months, it has filed charges against one person: Jason Moore, a former Chula Vista mayoral aide." Jason Moore worked for Steve Padilla, a Democrat who was in a run-off election against Republican Cheryl Cox.

The investigation of Moore, for taking two hours off work to take pictures of Cheryl Cox with David Malcolm at a Cox fundraiser, began in August 2005, well before the November election. Oddly, Bonnie Dumanis says, that in the future, in most cases, "we will not investigate a complaint until after an election."

Bonnie says her office is determined to be nonpolitical. When will that start, Bonnie? Specifically, when will you investigate complaints against Cheryl Cox and her associates?
v Dumanis did not even announce the existence of her "Public Integrity Unit" until March 1, 2007. Jason Moore was indicted on March 27, 2007.

O'Toole and Dumanis have each claimed to be personally interested in prosecuting perjury. But Dumanis' office recently refused to investigate proven perjury regarding illegal actions committed at Chula Vista Elementary School District when Bertha Lopez and Cheryl Cox were trustees of CVESD.

UPDATE April 25, 2014:

Maura Larkins' note: I imagine that readers are more likely to believe me regarding illegal actions and perjury committed by school officials in the South Bay after the recent revelations of pay-for-play deals with contractors. See related posts. I think these revelations will hurt Bonnie Dumanis in her contest against Bob Brewer in the upcoming election for district attorney in San Diego. But I hope that Bob Brewer, if he wins, won't give all public officials a free pass. I worry about that since Bob Brewer has made most of his money defending powerful white collar players. And he even has Bonnie's henchman Patrick O'Toole, who savagely prosecuted Jason Moore and Steve Castaneda, in his camp. That's sort of scary...

I just discovered that Bertha Lopez pled guilty yesterday to an extremely small potatoes transgression: accepting a gift over the limit. Bonnie Dumanis has not gone after the serious, truly high-stakes corruption in schools. I blame Bertha Lopez for harming students by rubber-stamping corrupt actions by both Republicans and Democrats in schools, but I believe that her prosecution by Bonnie Dumanis was largely political. Obviously, Bonnie Dumanis didn't want a trial because Bertha might have revealed too much about the corruption she knows about.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports: "Two more Sweetwater school board members pleaded guilty Thursday to minor charges in the South County political corruption investigation, effectively ending a case once described as the worst corruption scandal in a decade on a muted note. Board President Jim Cartmill and trustee Bertha Lopez each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of accepting gifts over the state limit. They will be sentenced in June."

In a related case, another political target of Bonnie Dumanis also asks for follow-through on the new information about the D.A.'s political motives.

Ex-Chula Vista Councilman Wants DA To Release Emails
By Amita Sharma
April 22, 2014

Former Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda called on District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to release emails connected to his 2008 prosecution.

Former Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda called Thursday on District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to release emails connected to his 2008 prosecution.

Castaneda's request followed a KPBS report that Dumanis investigated him and his colleagues after failing to get her aide appointed to a vacant Chula Vista council seat.

In 2006, Dumanis opened an inquiry into whether Castaneda received favors from a developer. That was months after then-Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla said he refused Dumanis' phone request to appoint an aide, Jesse Navarro, to a vacant council seat. Castaneda was later indicted on accusations of lying to a grand jury.

A jury acquitted him on most of the charges and hung on others.

Castaneda said he should have been told about Dumanis' call to Padilla. He now wants the District Attorney's Office to release all emails regarding his case because he wants to know "what happened and why it happened."

"Frankly, if she were on my side of the prosecutorial desk, she'd be at a grand jury right now," Castaneda said. "And she's hiding behind her status and her position, and I think she owes it to not only me and my family, but she owes it to the people of San Diego County."

A Dumanis spokeswoman released a statement on the matter saying, "Mr. Castaneda's criminal case is closed and we will not allow the District Attorney's Office to be used as a political pawn."

KPBS also asked for the same emails but was told the records didn't exist and would be exempt from disclosure anyway.

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