Late on Monday, federal prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss “without prejudice” all charges against Alex Sanchez, the nationally respected gang intervention leader who was arrested at his Bellflower home in June 2009, as his family looked on fearfully, and indicted under the RICO act for conspiracy to commit murder—among other charges.
For those who had supported Sanchez throughout the three-and-half years since he was indicted, the word that the case that was finally due to come before a jury in June 2013, was now likely to be dismissed, triggered a round of hopeful celebration. However, a closer reading of the Feds’ motion made it clear that, while the they wished to dismiss the old charges, they fully intended to refile new ones.
The prosecutor’s motion to dismiss the case came after Sanchez’ attorney, Amy Jacks, made her own motion to have the case dismissed on grounds that, as the motion stated: “the government presented false evidence to the grand jury issuing the indictment; that a government prosecutor lied to the grand jury in subsequent proceedings; that the government failed, for more than three (3) years, to take any action to formally acknowledge or attempt to correct an indictment based on false evidence; and that government prosecutors withheld from Mr. Sanchez favorable and exculpatory evidence…”
The actual hearing on the matter will be held in mid-January where a judge will presumably grant the Feds’ motion, which states that the prosecutor:
“….seeks the opportunity to correct the mistakes made in the previous grand jury resentation by representing this case to a new grand jury, focusing on the facts likely to be in dispute at trial.”
Barring emergencies or forces majeur, WLA will be at the hearing.
THE LONG MESSY RIDE, THUS FAR
El Salvadoran-born, former MS-13 gang member, Sanchez has been praised in cities across the country as someone who has helped turn around the lives of many, many young men and women. However, according to the government’s original case, the supposedly reformed Sanchez never reformed at all, but remained, in reality, a MS-13 shot caller who ordered at least one murder.
Yet nothing in the past three-and-a-half years of hearings has unfolded without some kind of messy drama. The original judge was removed from the case. And prior to his removal, it took four separate hearings and the interference of the 9th Circuit, before Sanchez’ attorney was allowed to fully present arguments for setting bail for Sanchez.
(Finally, in January of 2010, the judge set Sanchez’s bail at $2 million, an amount that friends and supporters had already raised in the form of surities and property.)
And then there were the perplexing mistranslations from Spanish of the transcript of an wiretapped telephone call central to the case, the glaring omission of a crucial section of the same transcript, a bizarre case of mistaken identity of one of the main people on the call, the abrupt dismissal of one of the prosecution’s most prominent witnesses, “gang expert,” Sergeant Frank Flores, after Flores gave some wincingly error-ridden testimony during a bail hearing….and more in that same vein.
AND SO THE MOTION TO DISMISS
In a Monday night statement made after the prosecution filed its motion to dismiss the case, attorney Jacks said that “the evidence [the prosecution] presented to the grand jury does not support the charges brought against Alex…If the court grants the government’s motion, Alex can focus on what he has done so well for many years: helping our community with gang intervention and prevention and promoting peaceful solutions to our conflicts.”
At the moment, however, it still appears that the prosecutors may wish for the opportunity to hit reset on what some believe is likely a fatally compromised indictment.
(They will have six months to refile after the motion is accepted.)
Or maybe after a sober re-look at what evidence remains, the feds will conclude that starting over is a non-starter.
We’ll know more after January’s hearing.
NOTE: In the interest of transparency, it’s important that those of you new to this story know that I consider Alex Sanchez a respected and valued friend. This means that while I work very hard to give readers the most factual possible information on the issue, I also have strong feelings about this case.