Courier staff writer
ALAMOSA — Police officers had probable cause to arrest a man accused of second-degree assault, so their statements will not be suppressed at the defendant’s pending trial, a 12th Judicial District judge ruled Thursday.
Deputy Public Defender Marcie Goldstein had asked the court to toss out the evidence as hearsay, since neither officer witnessed an alleged June 2012 altercation between defendant Nazzreth Deluna and Antonio Felix.
But Judge Pattie Swift ultimately rejected the defense’s motions to suppress, based on the testimony she heard over the course of a two-hour hearing.
The judge also denied Goldstein’s request to keep the physician who treated Felix from testifying on the witness stand. However, she limited the scope of the doctor’s testimony on the grounds that prosecutors did not disclose that person’s name as an expert witness.
Deluna, who stands accused of second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury and disorderly conduct, is scheduled to go on trial later this month.
But Goldstein is asking Judge Swift to dismiss the case altogether.
Among other things, she alleges that prosecutors failed to provide her office with discovery materials in a timely manner. The materials, including any and all medical records pertaining to the case, may contain potentially exculpatory evidence, Goldstein said.
“It’s the district attorney’s job to get those records to me,” she added.
Deputy District Attorney Mark Loy told the court that his office turned over discovery materials last July, including a severe bodily injury form signed by the attending physician.
According to the form, Felix sustained numerous injuries during the alleged assault, including facial lacerations and multiple contusions, as well as sinus and nasal fractures.
However, Loy noted that federal law limits the disclosure of hospital records, and in this case, a second alleged victim refused to sign a form that would have released the specific documents that Goldstein is seeking.
But he told the court the district attorney’s office is not prosecuting the defendant for his alleged actions against that individual.
“The charges against Mr. Deluna are specific to the injuries he caused to Mr. Felix,” he said.
Judge Swift is expected to rule on the defense’s motion to dismiss the case on Feb. 11.
The charges against Deluna date back to June 24 of last year, when an Alamosa Police Department corporal responded to a report of an alleged assault in the 900 block of Ninth Street. By the time he arrived, the incident was over, but he observed two men on the sidewalk who appeared to be bleeding from their noses and mouths.
Neither of the alleged victims could positively identify their assailants, although Felix gave the corporal several leads that never panned out.
However, a witness at the scene told the corporal that she saw two men arrive in a white Dodge pickup truck that was carrying a ladder.
The corporal pulled the vehicle over the next day, and before he even had a chance to explain why he was there, the driver allegedly told him that he’d witnessed a fight the previous evening.
According to the corporal’s testimony, the man said he gave Deluna and another man a ride to the 900 block of Ninth Street. As he began to drive away from the scene, he allegedly saw Deluna and the other man fighting with two individuals.
One of the latter two individuals matched Felix’s description, the corporal said.
The driver repeated his version of events during a recorded interview with police, and Deluna was subsequently arrested.
He was calm and cooperative as he was taken into custody, but he exercised his right to remain silent.