United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT PETITION FOR
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS THIRTY (30) DAY OBJECTION
MICHAEL J. SENG, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for
writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. David
Baughman, Acting Warden of California State Prison,
Sacramento, is hereby substituted as the proper named
respondent pursuant to Rule 25(d) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Respondent is represented by Tami M. Krenzen
of the Attorney General's Office for the State of
petition raises the following claims: (1) the trial court
erred in denying Petitioner's
Wheeler/Batson motion; (2) the jury did not
render an unequivocal verdict of guilt on Count 3; (3) the
trial court abused its discretion by denying Petitioner's
request for release of juror identifying information; (4)
trial counsel was ineffective in failing to request
instructions on conspiracy to be an accessory after the fact;
(5) in light of the equivocal verdict on Count 3, the firearm
enhancement must be stricken; (6) the trial court erred in
failing to clarify the verdict or further instruct the jury;
(7) Petitioner was improperly convicted of two counts of
being an accessory; and (8) the gang enhancement must be
stricken. (ECF No. 1.)
reasons stated below, the undersigned will recommend that the
petition be granted
is currently in the custody of the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation pursuant to a judgment of the
Superior Court of California, County of Merced. He was
initially convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and two
counts of accessory after the fact, with gang and firearm
enhancements. People v. Mendez, No. F063497, 2013 WL
4830803, at *1-2 (Cal.Ct.App. Sept. 10, 2013). He was
sentenced to an indeterminate term of 25 years to life,
enhanced by a term of 25 years to life due to the firearm
allegation. Id. at *2.
appealed his conviction and sentence (Lodged Doc. 2) and, on
September 10, 2013, the California Court of Appeal for the
Fifth Appellate District reversed one of the accessory
counts, vacated a gang enhancement, and otherwise affirmed
the judgment (Lodged Doc. 1). Mendez, 2013 WL
4830803, at *23. Petitioner filed a petition for review with
the California Supreme Court. (Lodged Doc. 5.) On November
26, 2013, the California Supreme Court denied the petition.
(Lodged Doc. 6.)
did not file any state habeas petitions.
filed the instant federal habeas petition on October 8, 2014.
(ECF No. 1.) Respondent filed an answer to the petition on
May 1, 2015. (ECF No. 20.) Petitioner filed a traverse on
July 10, 2015. (ECF No. 24; see also ECF No. 27.)
The matter stands ready for adjudication.
following facts are taken from the Fifth District Court of
Appeal's September 10, 2013, opinion and are presumed
correct. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
On the night of the shooting, DeAngelo and J.S. were sitting
on a bench in an apartment complex near a basketball court.
They were approached by three armed Hispanic males. Shots
were fired, resulting in the death of DeAngelo. J.S.
survived, despite being shot twice. The prosecution presented
evidence suggesting the shooting was gang related, although
neither DeAngelo nor J.S. was a gang member.
A witness, who went to high school with Mendez, identified
Mendez as the driver of the vehicle that transported the
shooters to and from the apartment complex. Mendez was
arrested that night and gave the police a statement admitting
his involvement in the shooting. We will summarize
Mendez's statement, which was played for the jury, to
explain his defense and the basis for his claimed inability
to identify the shooters.
Mendez initially claimed he did not know why he was being
interrogated and that he was at home asleep at the time of
the shootings (10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.). He denied driving
the vehicle used to transport the shooters that night. He
denied being at the scene, even after being told a witness
had identified him and the vehicle he was driving.
A search of Mendez's home resulted in the discovery of
the guns used in the shooting being found under Mendez's
bed. Mendez's story quickly changed. Mendez said he
received a call asking if he could give the caller a ride.
The caller, whom Mendez stated he did not know, said that
Fire had told him to call Mendez for a ride. Mendez knew Fire
from a high school he attended for a short while.
Mendez picked up Fire, the caller, and a third man near a
store. Fire first stated the three were going to a party, but
then asked Mendez to stop at the apartment complex. When the
three men exited the vehicle, they used their shirts to cover
their faces, except for their eyes. Mendez waited about 10
minutes. He heard approximately five gunshots and then the
three men came running out of the complex. They told Mendez
to “just go, just go.” Mendez drove to a park.
The three men said there were two Black guys at the apartment
complex. An argument started and shots were fired. The three
men told Mendez to hide the guns-two pistols and a shotgun.
Mendez claimed he did not know any of the three men except
Mendez dropped off the three at the same store at which he
had picked them up and then dropped off the guns at his
house. After Mendez got home, a different friend called for a
ride. Mendez did not want to take the truck because it had
been used in the shooting, so he took his brother's car.
The prosecution contended Mendez was guilty as an aider and
abettor to the murder of DeAngelo and the attempted murder of
J.S., and that Mendez conspired with the shooters to commit
the crime. Mendez argued he was merely giving a friend a ride
and did not know the three men were going to shoot anyone
that night. He acknowledged that his actions after the
shooting would make him guilty of being an accessory after
the fact, in violation of section 32, but asserted he was not
guilty of the three charged crimes.
Mendez, 2013 WL 4830803, at *1-2.
Jurisdiction and Venue
by way of a writ of habeas corpus extends to a prisoner under
a judgment of a state court if the custody violates the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 28
U.S.C. § 2254(a); 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3);
Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 375 n.7 (2000).
Petitioner asserts that he suffered a violation of his rights
as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Petitioner was
convicted and sentenced in this district. 28 U.S.C. §
2241(d); 2254(a). The Court concludes that it has
jurisdiction over the action and that venue is proper.
petition was filed after April 24, 1996 and is governed by
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”). Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S.
320, 326 (1997); Jeffries v. Wood, 114 F.3d 1484,
1499 (9th Cir. 1997). Under AEDPA, federal habeas corpus
relief is available for any claim decided on the merits in
state court proceedings if the state court's adjudication
of the claim:
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal
law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
Standard of Review
court decision is “contrary to” federal law if it
“applies a rule that contradicts governing law set
forth in [Supreme Court] cases” or “confronts a
set of facts that are materially indistinguishable
from” a Supreme Court case, yet reaches a different
result.” Brown v. Payton, 544 U.S. 133, 141
(2005) (citing Williams, 529 U.S. at 405-06).
“AEDPA does not require state and federal courts to
wait for some nearly identical factual pattern before a legal
rule must be applied. . . . The statue recognizes . . . that
even a general standard may be applied in an unreasonable
manner” Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930,
953 (2007) (citations and quotation marks omitted). The
“clearly established Federal law” requirement
“does not demand more than a ‘principle' or
‘general standard.'” Musladin v.
Lamarque, 555 F.3d 830, 839 (2009). For a state decision
to be an unreasonable application of clearly established
federal law under § 2254(d)(1), the Supreme Court's
prior decisions must provide a governing legal principle (or
principles) to the issue before the state court. Lockyer
v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 70-71 (2003).
court decision will involve an “unreasonable
application of” federal law only if it is
“objectively unreasonable.” Id. at 75-76
(quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 409-10); Woodford
v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24-25 (2002). “[A]n
unreasonable application of federal law is different
from an incorrect application of federal law.”
Harrington v. Richter 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011)
(citing Williams, 529 U.S. at 410) (emphasis in
original). “A state court's determination that a
claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as
‘fairminded jurists could disagree' on the
correctness of the state court's decision.”
Id. (citing Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541
U.S. 653, 664 (2004)). Further, “[t]he more general the
rule, the more leeway courts have in reading outcomes in
case-by-case determinations.” Id.; Renico
v. Lett, 130 S.Ct. 1855, 1864 (2010). “It is not
an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal
law for a state court to decline to apply a specific legal
rule that has not been squarely established by [the Supreme
Court].” Knowles v. Mirzayance, 556 U.S. 111,
Requirement of Prejudicial Error
general, habeas relief may only be granted if the
constitutional error complained of was prejudicial. That is,
it must have had “a substantial and injurious effect or
influence in determining the jury's verdict.”
Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 623 (1993);
see also Fry v. Pliler, 551 U.S. 112, 121-22 (2007)
(holding that the Brecht standard applies whether or
not the state court recognized the error and reviewed it for
harmlessness). Some constitutional errors, however, do not
require a showing of prejudice. See Arizona v.
Fulminante, 499 U.S. 279, 310 (1991); United States
v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648, 659 (1984). Furthermore, claims
alleging ineffective assistance of counsel are analyzed under
the Strickland prejudice standard; courts do not
engage in a separate analysis applying the Brecht
standard. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668
(1984); Avila v. Galaza, 297 F.3d 911, 918, n.7
(2002); Musalin v. Lamarque, 555 F.3d 830, 834 (9th
Deference to State Court Decisions
courts are the principal forum for asserting constitutional
challenges to state convictions, ” not merely a
“preliminary step for a later federal habeas
proceeding.” Richter, 562 U.S. at 103. Whether
the state court decision is reasoned and explained, or merely
a summary denial, the approach to evaluating unreasonableness
under § 2254(d) is the same: “Under §
2254(d), a habeas court must determine what arguments or
theories supported or . . . could have supported, the state
court's decision; then it must ask whether it is possible
fairminded jurists could disagree that those arguments or
theories are inconsistent with the holding in a prior
decision of [the Supreme Court].” Id. at 102.
In other words:
As a condition for obtaining habeas corpus relief from a
federal court, a state prisoner must show that the state
court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal
court was so lacking in justification that there was an error
well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any
possibility for fairminded disagreement.
Id. at 103. Thus, the Court may issue the writ only
“in cases where there is no possibility fairminded
jurists could disagree that the state court's decision
conflicts with [the Supreme Court's] precedents.”
Id. at 102.
there has been one reasoned state judgment rejecting a
federal claim, later unexplained orders upholding that
judgment or rejecting the claim rest on the same
grounds.” See Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S.
797, 803 (1991). Thus, the court will “look
through” a summary denial to the last reasoned decision
of the state court. Id. at 804; Plascencia v.
Alameida, 467 F.3d 1190, 1198 (9th Cir. 2006).
Furthermore, the district court may review a habeas claim,
even where the state court's reasoning is entirely
unexplained. Richter, 562 U.S. at 98. “Where a
state court's decision is unaccompanied by an
explanation, the habeas petitioner's burden still must be
met by showing there was no reasonable basis for the state
court to deny relief.” Id. (“This Court
now holds and reconfirms that § 2254(d) does not require
a state court to give reasons before its decision can be
deemed to have been ‘adjudicated on the
Review of Petition
Claim One: Discrimination in Jury Selection
contends that the prosecutor exercised peremptory challenges
in a discriminatory manner that removed four Hispanic jurors,
and that the trial court improperly denied Petitioner's
Batson motion challenging the prospective
State Court Decision
the California Supreme Court's opinion is summary in
nature, this Court "looks through" that decision
and presumes it adopted the reasoning of the California Court
of Appeal, the last state court to have issued a reasoned
opinion. See Ylst, 501 U.S. at 804-05. Additionally,
to the extent that the California Court of Appeal's
decision “adopts or substantially incorporates the
reasoning from a previous state court decision, we may
consider both decisions to ‘fully ascertain the
reasoning of the last decision.'” Edwards v.
Lamarque, 475 F.3d 1121, 1126 (9th Cir. 2007).
ruling on this claim, the Fifth District Court of Appeals
Mendez made two motions for a mistrial based on the
prosecutor's exercise of peremptory challenges. The first
motion was made after the prosecutor exercised his first two
peremptory challenges to Prospective Jurors Nos. 1399 and
5225. The second motion was made after the prosecutor
exercised a total of 11 peremptory challenges, including
Prospective Jurors Nos. 3307 and 4454.
The primary ground for Mendez's motions was the fact that
each of the challenged potential jurors was Hispanic. After
each motion the trial court found Mendez had made a prima
facie showing the prosecutor was exercising his peremptory
challenges in a discriminatory manner. After the prosecutor
explained his reasons for the use of the peremptory
challenges, the trial court found there were
nondiscriminatory reasons for the prosecutor's challenges
and denied the motions. Mendez argues the trial court's
ruling was erroneous.
The California Supreme Court recently set forth the
applicable legal standards when a
Batson/Wheeler motion is made.
“A prosecutor's use of peremptory challenges to
excuse prospective jurors on the basis of group bias,
including on grounds of race or ethnicity, violates the right
of a criminal defendant to trial by a jury drawn from a
representative cross-section of the community under article
I, section 16 of the state Constitution. [Citations.] Under
Batson, supra, 476 U.S. 79, such practice also
violates the defendant's right to equal protection under
the Fourteenth Amendment. [Citations.]
“‘In ruling on a motion challenging the exercise
of peremptory strikes, the trial court follows a three-step
procedure. “First, the defendant must make out a prima
facie case ‘by showing that the totality of the
relevant facts gives rise to an inference of discriminatory
purpose.' [Citation.] Second, once the defendant has made
out a prima facie case, the ‘burden shifts to the State
to explain adequately the racial exclusion' by offering
permissible race-neutral justifications for the strikes.
[Citations.] Third, ‘[i]f a race-neutral explanation is
tendered, the trial court must then decide . . . whether the
opponent of the strike has proved purposeful racial
discrimination.' [Citation.]” [Citation.]'
“‘A prosecutor asked to explain his conduct must
provide a “‘clear and reasonably specific'
explanation of his ‘legitimate reasons' for
exercising the challenges.” [Citation.] “The
justification need not support a challenge for cause, and
even a ‘trivial reason, ' if genuine and neutral,
will suffice.” A prospective juror may be excused based
upon facial expressions, gestures, hunches, and even for
arbitrary or idiosyncratic reasons.' [Citation.]
‘[B]ut race-based decisions are not constitutionally
“Therefore, ‘at the third stage of the
Wheeler/Batson inquiry, “the issue
comes down to whether the trial court finds the
prosecutor's race-neutral explanations to be credible.
Credibility can be measured by, among other factors, the
prosecutor's demeanor; by how reasonable, or how
improbable, the explanations are; and by whether the
proffered rationale has some basis in accepted trial
strategy.” [Citation.] In assessing credibility, the
court draws upon its contemporaneous observations of the voir
dire. It may also rely on the court's own experiences as
a lawyer and bench officer in the community, and even the
common practices of the advocate and the office that employs
him or her. [Citation.]' [Citations.]
“‘“Review of a trial court's denial of
a Wheeler/Batson motion is deferential,
examining only whether substantial evidence supports its
conclusions. [Citation.] ‘We review a trial court's
determination regarding the sufficiency of a prosecutor's
justifications for exercising peremptory challenges
“‘with great restraint.'” [Citation.]
We presume that a prosecutor uses peremptory challenges in a
constitutional manner and give great deference to the trial
court's ability to distinguish bona fide reasons from
sham excuses. [Citation.] So long as the trial court makes a
sincere and reasoned effort to evaluate the nondiscriminatory
justifications offered, its conclusions are entitled to
deference on appeal. [Citation.]'” [Citation.]'
“‘“‘The trial court is not required
to make specific or detailed comments for the record to
justify every instance in which a prosecutor's
race-neutral reason for exercising a peremptory challenge is
being accepted by the court as genuine.'”'
[Citation.] ‘“‘All that matters is that the
prosecutor's reason for exercising the peremptory
challenge is sincere and legitimate, legitimate in the sense
of being nondiscriminatory.' [Citation.] A reason that
makes no sense is nonetheless ‘sincere and
legitimate' as long as it does not deny equal protection.
[Citation.]” [Citation.]' [Citation.]
“‘“As part of our analysis, we consider as
‘bearing on the trial court's factual finding
regarding discriminatory intent' [citation] the
comparisons of prospective jurors challenged and unchallenged
that defendant expounds in his briefs, though few if any of
these comparisons were made in the trial court. At the same
time, ‘we are mindful that comparative juror analysis
on a cold appellate record has inherent limitations.' In
addition to the difficulty of assessing tone, expression and
gesture from the written transcript of voir dire, we attempt
to keep in mind the fluid character of the jury selection
process and the complexity of the balance involved.
‘Two panelists might give a similar answer on a given
point. Yet the risk posed by one panelist might be offset by
other answers, behavior, attitudes or experiences that make
one juror, on balance, more or less desirable. These
realities, and the complexity of human nature, make a
formulaic comparison of isolated responses an exceptionally
poor medium to overturn a trial court's factual
finding.' [Citation.]” [Citation.]'
[Citation.]” (People v. DeHoyos (2013) 57
Cal.4th 79, 101-103.)
Motion No. 1
The first motion was made after the prosecutor exercised his
first two peremptory challenges on Prospective Jurors Nos.
1399 and 5225. We begin by reviewing the proceedings leading
up to these two challenges.
Each potential juror was presented with a jury questionnaire
to complete several days before jury selection began.
Juror No. 1399
Prospective Juror No. 1399 was a retired 69-year-old married
male who lived at home with his wife. He has seven grown
children. He stated he graduated from high school but did not
attend college, had not served in the military, denied past
jury service, had been arrested for solicitation and
apparently sustained a conviction of some type, and had a
nephew who was “run over” by a drunk driver and a
cousin and a brother-in-law who were murdered; he also stated
he had been the victim of auto theft. He testified as a
character witness for a coworker who had been charged with
murder. He denied hearing about the case in the media and
denied any negative feelings towards law enforcement. He
strongly disagreed with the statement that “The courts
are trustworthy, ” and stated that a person who acted
as a lookout for a burglar should be just as liable as the
burglar if the two planned the crime together. However, he
felt a getaway driver would not be as guilty as the person
who stabbed a victim unless the driver could have stopped the
Juror No. 5225
Prospective Juror No. 5225 was a 34-year-old mother of six
children who was employed as a family service representative.
She had graduated from high school and attended college,
during which time she was enrolled in several criminal
justice classes. She denied any past jury experience. Her
brother, son, and ex-husband had been charged with crimes,
although the types of crimes were not stated. She stated she
had been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her
ex-husband, which probably resulted in charges against him.
He shot at her and threatened her with a gun several times.
She also testified in her cousin's case when he
apparently was charged with sexual assault.
She had seen some information in the media about the case,
and one of her nephews stated he knew the victim from high
school. The information made her sad. Her brother had a
tattoo on his forearm that read “M St. Mob.” She
experienced migraine headaches and indicated they might make
it difficult for her to serve on the jury, although she had
medication for the condition.
She acknowledged that a lookout or a getaway driver could be
liable for the crime committed by another perpetrator,
depending on the circumstances involved.
The trial court began voir dire by asking all potential
jurors in the jury box general questions about their ability
to serve as jurors. In addition, the parties were permitted
limited voir dire.[FN3]
FN3: Each party was given 30 minutes to voir dire the initial
27 potential jurors called to the jury box. For cause and
peremptory challenges were then exercised until only 11
potential jurors were left in the jury box. The trial court
then called 16 additional potential jurors from the panel.
Each party was then given 15 minutes to conduct voir dire on
any of the 27 potential jurors now in the jury box. This
process was repeated until a jury was selected.
Juror No. 1399
Prospective Juror No. 1399 did not respond to any of the
trial court's questions. The prosecutor began voir dire
by asking general questions of the entire panel about
witnesses. He specifically asked Prospective Juror No. 1399
how he would determine whether a witness was believable.
Prospective Juror No. 1399 responded that he would base his
analysis on past experiences in interacting with people. That
was the only question asked of this prospective juror by
Juror No. 5225
Prospective Juror No. 5225 responded to two questions posed
by the trial court. First, she indicated that one of the
police officers, who was a potential witness in the trial,
had been a friend of her husband's for a long time. She
denied the relationship would have any effect on her ability
to be impartial.
She also explained that she knew the district attorney
because their sons were friends. She again denied that the
relationship would have any effect on her ability to be
Neither attorney asked Prospective Juror No. 5225 any
questions on voir dire.
Prosecutor's Justification for the Peremptory
The prosecutor's explanation for his decision to exercise
a peremptory challenge was somewhat disjointed. It appears
that someone in the district attorney's office had
reviewed the jury questionnaires before jury selection began
and had given each questionnaire a “grade, ”
which indicated the desirability of that particular juror
serving on the panel. It also appears that the prosecutor
trying the case did not grade the questionnaires and based
his decision whether to accept or reject a juror largely on
the grades given to the questionnaires.
While the use of such a grading system does not necessarily
violate any of Mendez's constitutional rights, a
constitutional violation would occur if the grades were based
on race. The record, however, does not contain any evidence
on how the grades were assigned; therefore, we have no basis
to conclude the grading system violated Mendez's
Because we do not know on what criteria the grading system
was based, we must base our review solely on the various
reasons identified by the prosecutor for the challenges. The
prosecutor noted that Prospective Juror No. 1399 stated on
his questionnaire that he had been convicted of misdemeanor
solicitation, the questionnaire was full of misspellings, and
the prospective juror stated he had testified as a character
witness for a defendant accused of murder. The prospective
juror also strongly disagreed with the statement that the
courts were trustworthy. Finally, he indicated he did not
feel accomplices should be punished the same as a
The prosecutor noted that Prospective Juror No. 5225 stated
she had taken some criminal justice classes, which caused the
prosecutor concern because such jurors sometimes make
decisions based on what they think the law is rather than the
law given to them by the trial court. Prospective Juror No.
5225 also stated she would not have any problem deciding the
case because of her religious beliefs, but she might not be
able to impose the death penalty because of those beliefs.
The prosecutor explained that this caused concern that the
prospective juror might make decisions on her religious
beliefs and not the law. The prospective juror also said that
her brother, son, and ex-husband had been charged with
crimes, causing concern about bias against law enforcement.
The prospective juror also had been a victim of domestic
violence and had been a witness in her cousin's sexual
assault case, both of which caused the prosecutor concern.
Finally, the prospective juror's brother apparently was
in a gang, since he had a gang tattoo on his arm and this
gang tattoo was for the same gang involved in this case.
Trial Court's Ruling
The trial court found there were race-neutral reasons for the
prosecutor's exercise of the peremptory challenges and
denied the motion with little explanation.
We agree with the trial court's conclusion. The voir dire
did not provide any useful information for either attorney,
so the decision to exercise peremptory challenges was based
almost entirely on the jury questionnaires, which supported
for the most part the prosecutor's justifications for the
challenges. Prospective Juror No. 1399 stated in his
questionnaire that he had been arrested for solicitation, had
testified as a character witness for a coworker charged with
murder, did not feel the trial courts were trustworthy, and
did not feel an accomplice should be as liable as the
perpetrator. These were all race-neutral reasons for
exercising a peremptory challenge.
Prospective Juror No. 5225's questionnaire also supported
the prosecution's justifications. She stated in her
questionnaire that her brother had a gang tattoo, a strong
indication he was in a criminal street gang. She also stated
several relatives had been charged with crimes, her religious
views would interfere with her ability to impose the death
penalty, and she had taken several criminal justice classes.
Each of these reasons was race-neutral and supported the
trial court's ruling.
Motion No. 2
The second motion was made after the potential jurors excused
from the panel were replaced with new potential jurors from
the venire. Both sides exercised numerous peremptory
challenges. Mendez made the second motion after the
prosecutor exercised his ninth challenge against Prospective
Juror No. 3307. Mendez asserted the ninth peremptory
challenge and the sixth peremptory challenge used against
Prospective Juror No. 4454 were based on race.
Juror No. 3307
Prospective Juror No. 3307 was a 33-year-old single Hispanic
female with three children. She had graduated from college
and vocational school. She had never served on a jury.
Neither she nor a family member had ever been charged with a
crime, nor had she been a victim of a crime other than when
someone broke into her house.
She had not heard anything about the case from media reports.
She “Somewhat Disagree[d]” that police and the
courts are trustworthy. She would judge police officer
testimony the same as any other witness. She denied any gang