Attorneys Obtain Felony Dismissal After Prosecution

Sacramento Defense Attorneys Obtain Felony Dismissal After Prosecution Continued Case Without Valid Reason

Felony DVD pirating charges dismissed after Sacramento County District Attorney's Office fails to state good cause for a continuance.

August 15, 2011

The Law Offices of Bonilla & Cintean, LLP. announced today that the Sacramento County Superior Court entered a dismissal in Felony case number 11F03610, for defendant Willie A. Jennings, after the prosecution failed to show good case for a continuance.

According to the police reports and court documents filed, Mr. Jennings was arrested on Felony DVD pirating charges on March 4, 2011. Mr. Jennings pled not guilty to all charges and the case was set for a preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing some of the initial charges were dismissed by the court for lack of evidence. Mr. Jennings then exercised his constitutional right to a speedy trial within sixty days from being held to answer at a preliminary hearing.

According to the online Sacramento Superior Court index, shortly before the last day of the speedy jury trial right period, the Sacramento District Attorney’s office dismissed the charges and re-filed the case under a new case number. A new preliminary hearing was held. This time the prosecution procured the testimony of an expert witness. After the second preliminary hearing, Mr. Jennings again exercised his right to a speedy trial. According to documents filed in open court throughout these proceedings, Mr. Jennings’ attorney, David W. Bonilla, made several informal and formal discovery requests for a recording from a police car camera showing the initial vehicle stop and interview of Mr. Jennings. According to those same documents, even though Mr. Bonilla was told that the recording did not exist, he insisted on obtaining it, believing that law enforcement did in fact have the recording.

Per the court transcript, when the case again approached the end of the allowable speedy trial period, Mr. Bonilla requested that a judge order the Sacramento District Attorney’s office to turn over the recording. Shortly before that hearing, the District Attorney’s office claimed it discovered the existence of the recording. In court, the assigned deputy District Attorney requested two weeks to obtain the recording, a period which extended beyond Mr. Jennings’ statutory speedy trial right period of sixty days. Mr. Alin D. Cintean represented Mr. Jennings in that hearing for a Motion to Compel discovery on July 29, 2011 in Department 63 of the Sacramento Superior Court. The court granted the District Attorney’s motion to continue over the defense’s strenuous objection.

According to the records of the Court of Third District Court of Appeal, on August 15, 2011 the Law Offices of Bonilla & Cintean, LLP. filed a Writ of Mandate requesting that the case be dismissed. The Appeals court initially granted a stay. Prior to even obtaining the notice from the court of appeals, the court file and minute order indicate that the honorable court in Department 31 ordered case dismissed based on Mr. Bonilla’s motion to dismiss for violation of Mr. Jennings speedy trial rights. On the record, the judge indicated that the prosecution failed to state any good cause when it requested a continuance on July 29, 2011. Mr. Jennings was ordered released immediately.

Attorneys David W. Bonilla and Alin D. Cintean may be reached at (916)447-7842 or at