CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Public hearing in Yolo deputy slaying case closed to public

A public hearing – in which murder suspect Marco Antonio Topete was to be formally charged Wednesday in the slaying of a Yolo County sheriff's deputy – was closed to just about everyone except the slain deputy's survivors and his law-enforcement colleagues.

Barred from the hearing were the defendant's wife, mother and sister, and members of the general public, including the media. They waited outside the court building in Woodland because deputies had locked the door and kept it locked during the hearing.

Afterward, when reporters asked the prosecutor and public defender what transpired in the hearing, they said that Superior Court Commissioner Janene Beronio, who presided, had placed a gag order on them, preventing them from discussing anything about the case.

Initially, Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto blamed the commissioner for excluding the public from the hearing. Later, Prieto said his deputies kept the doors locked on their own and that was "a huge mistake."

In Yolo County, Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg presides over the Woodland court operation.

Rosenberg told The Bee the arraignment hearing should have been open to the public and media.

"The doors are supposed to be unlocked when court is in session. This kind of hearing should have been open to the public. There are no excuses. It shouldn't have happened," Rosenberg said.

The defendant, Topete, 35, is accused of killing Sheriff's Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz after a high-speed chase Sunday night.

Diaz, 37, died at Woodland Memorial Hospital from a bullet fired from a high-powered rifle that had pierced his protective vest, authorities said. [Mark Godsey]

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Yolo County is so corrupt and the law enforcement here is a JOKE, It is no wonder this cop was shot as him and his fellow officers have been doing a substandard enforcement of laws in this county. That is what you get when you let the criminals run free that should be locked up! The cops here in YoYo county do not enforce too many laws except the easy money pickin's like traffic tickets! This time it was not easy pickin's as the entire Yolo County Law Enforcement is responsible for this due to the fact this guy should of been arrested for dealing drugs while on probation for murder, If a number of citizens knew of this guy and his parole violations and law enforcement was told by many including myself but failed to do anything then they too hold some responsibility for this murder! Hopefully Diaz is replaced by an officer that is willing to actually enforce ALL the laws in this county. I myself will sell my properties in this county when the market turns and move to another (preferably WHITE) county where these types are dealt with. Yolo County Officers are lazy cops and invite criminals to live here because they know our cops are useless! Attention YCSD it is your own fault, enjoy what you reap!!! 115512.172.168.5777

Posted by: Yolo County Sheriff's SUCK | Jun 27, 2008 6:44:43 PM

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