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Flores v. City of Bakersfield

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 20, 2019

JESUS FLORES, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF BAKERSFIELD, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. 32)

          JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Jesus Flores asserts that his constitutional rights were violated by the City of Bakersfield and Officer Joseph Galland through Plaintiff's arrest, incarceration, and prosecution for child abuse crimes. In addition, Plaintiff asserts the defendants are liable for interference with his familial relationship with his son, and violations of California tort law for false arrest/imprisonment, negligence, and infliction of emotional distress. (Doc. 17)

         Defendants contend Plaintiff is unable to succeed on his claims and seek summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 32) Plaintiff filed his opposition to the motion on November 11, 2019 (Doc. 38), and a corrected memorandum on November 21, 2019. (Doc. 43) Defendants filed their brief in reply on November 27, 2019. (Doc. 44) For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

         I. Background and Undisputed Material Facts[1]

         On May 21, 2015, at approximately 4:14 p.m., Bakersfield Police Officer Helmuth Achtmann was dispatched to 8709 Domingo Street, to assist with medical aid for a two-month-old boy, “M.F.” (UMF 1) hen Achtmann arrived at the residence, “M.F. was en route to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital via Hall Ambulance.” (UMF 2)

         A. Investigation and Police Report by Galland

         Detective Joseph Galland was advised of a possible child abuse incident and informed the baby was at Memorial Hospital approximately an hour after the initial dispatch. (UMF 3) Galland investigated the incident and “prepared a report detailing his investigation.” (UMF 4) In the report, Galland indicated that upon arrival at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, he learned M.F. had been placed on a ventilator and was “in a medically induced coma to stabilize him.” (DSF 1) Galland reported he spoke first with Dr. Burny, a pediatric specialist, and then Dr. Wade Naven, an emergency room physician who was also the attending physician at the time. (DSF 2) Dr. Naven was a mandatory reporter, and indicated that when he “first saw the patient, ” there was “enough worry to call CPS to call the officers.” (Doc. 43-4 at 27, Depo. 67:18-23) He was unable to recall whether he called CPS himself or whether he instructed someone to do so. (Id. at 28, Depo. 86:2-7)

         Dr. Naven informed Galland that “he did not believe the bruising on M.F.'s cheeks was caused by CPR.” (UMF 5) Galland noted in the report that Dr. Naven advised him “M.F. had injuries to his brain, ” and “Dr. Naven was very worried that M.F. was the victim of child abuse.” (DSF 3) Galland also indicated in his report that he “asked Dr. Naven how recent the acute brain injuries had been caused and Dr. Naven stated he believed the injuries were no more than two hours old.” (DSF 7) The same day, Galland placed an investigative hold on M.F. “and placed him into protective custody” at Memorial Hospital. (Doc. 38-5 at 74-75, Galland Depo. 142:8-143:10) This hold prevented Flores from having contact with the child. (See Doc. 38-5 at 75, Galland Depo. 143:7-16)

         Galland took photographs of M.F.'s face that “depict[ed] bruising on M.F.'s left and right cheeks.” (DSF 10) After taking these photographs, Galland interviewed Sara Guzman, M.F.'s mother, at the hospital. (UMF 6; see also Doc. 36-2 at 2, Galland Decl. ¶ 6) Ms. Guzman informed Galland that “M.F. had no medical problems or allergies that she was aware of and had been seen about a month earlier for a checkup.” (DSF 11) Galland inquired about M.F.'s schedule, and Ms. Guzman reported that “she and her mother, aunt, and cousins had left the house around 2 p.m. to get a haircut and look at a gym memberships, leaving M.F. alone with Plaintiff.” (Id.) She reported they returned around 3:00 or 3:15 p.m., but “left to go to the Farmer's Market …, again leaving M.F. alone with Plaintiff Jesus Flores.” (Id.) Ms. Guzman stated Flores “called her while she was at the Farmer's Market and said ‘the baby's not breathing, ” and “[s]he directed him to call 911.” (UMF 11) Galland “obtained a medical release for M.F.'s medical records from Bakersfield Memorial Hospital from Ms. Guzman.” (UMF 7)

         Galland re-contacted Dr. Naven, who stated M.F. would be transferred to Valley Children's Hospital. (DSF 12; Doc. 32-6 at 2, Galland Decl. ¶ 6) Dr. Naven gave Galland the radiology report and showed him the CT scan, which depicted “multiple hematomas.” DSF 4; see also Doc. 32-6 at 2, ¶6) Dr. Naven felt even a ‘non-medical person could see' that it was not normal.” (Id.) Dr. Naven diagnosed M.F. with: “(1) Subdural hematoma; (2) Evaluate non-accidental trauma; and (3) Respiratory alkalosis with metabolic acidosis.” (DSF 6; see also Doc. 32-13 at 31) In addition, Dr. Naven noted there were “multiple subdural hematomas, the majority of which contain acute hemorrhage mixed with additional hemorrhage of varying ages.” (Id.; see also Doc. 32-13 at 30-31) In his report, Galland noted that Dr. Naven opined “M.F. had a reasonable chance of survival but indicated he thought there was a high probability the child would suffer significant permanent brain damage as a result of the injuries.” (DSF 12) Galland also reported: “I asked Dr. Naven how recent the acute brain injuries had been caused and he stated he believed the injuries were no more than 2 hours old.” (Doc. 32-12 at 14) Flores contends there is a dispute about whether Dr. Naven identified this two-hour time frame.[2] (See Doc. 43-2 at 4-5)

         Following the second conversation with Dr. Naven, Galland “reached out to Detective McAfee, who was at the subject residence and who was going to return to the Police Department to author a search warrant.” (DSF 13; see also Doc. 32-6 at 3, Galland Decl. ¶ 8) Flores was transported to the Bakersfield Police Department, and Ms. Guzman agreed to meet at the department. (Doc. 32-6 at 3, ¶¶ 7-8; see also DSF 13)

         Detectives Galland and Davenport “proceeded to interview the family/witnesses including: (1) Mariana Ramirez, the aunt of Sara Guzman; (2) Araceli Reyes, the daughter of Mariana Ramirez; (3) Jose Mendez, M.F.'s grandfather; (4) Christopher Guzman, Sara Guzman's brother; (5) Geneveva Ramirez, Sara Guzman's mother; (6) Sara Guzman; and (7) Jesus Flores.” (DSF 14) Prior to the interviews of Ms. Guzman and Flores, “Miranda rights were explained and waived.” (DSF 14)

         Galland inquired about the bruises on M.F.'s face and noted some of the relatives reported observing bruises on both of M.F.'s cheeks “before they left the residence.” (DSF 19) “Ms. Guzman indicated she recalled seeing them on Monday morning but had no explanation as to what caused them.” (Id.) Plaintiff told the detectives he saw the bruises “on Sunday night and had also seen red marks in the white portions of M.F.'s eyes.” (Id.) “To Detective Galland, this meant the bruises preexisted the CPR that was performed earlier in the day.” (Id.)

         During the interviews, “Galland learned that Jesus Flores was alone with M.F. from approximately 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. or 3:15 p.m., and again from approximately 3:40 p.m. or 3:45 p.m. until the time that the Fire Department arrived around 4:20 p.m.” (DSF 17) Jose Mendez stated during his interview that “Jesus Flores did not take very good care of the baby because he was always busy playing video games and that he had observed Jesus Flores lose his temper when M.F. was fussy and that Jesus Flores and yelled at M.F. so loudly that the child became startled.” (DSF 18)

         The interview of Plaintiff began at approximately 11:00 p.m. on May 21, 2015. (Doc. 32-6 at 1, Galland Decl. ¶10(g)) Prior to the interview, “Miranda rights were explained and waived.” (DSF 14) Flores reported M.F. had been “really fussy” that day, and “admitted that on the day of the incident he got frustrated because he could not seem to make the baby stop crying.” (DSF 23; see also Doc. 32-22 at 95, Transcr. 93:8-10) Flores said this was frustrating “because he was supposed to be playing a live stream video game at 1 p.m. but the baby was still fussy.” (DSF 23)

         Flores recounted that at approximately 1 p.m., he “took M.F. outside to rock him.” (DSF 11; see also Doc. 32-22 at 95, Transcr. 93:8-10) Flores said he gave M.F. a shower, changed him, and made a bottle; and M.F. then took a nap. (DSF 11) He reported that after all the relatives returned and left again, M.F. was in his bassinet sleeping when he started coughing and began choking. (Id.) Flores noticed M.F. stopped breathing, and said he picked up M.F., who started to breathe again and then stopped. (Id.) Flores said he went to the shower and splashed some water on M.F.'s face, at which point M.F. seemed to wake up but lost consciousness. (Id.) Flores stated he called 911, and began performing CPR. (Id.) He stated he took medication for anxiety and his heart was “still racing” at the time of the interview. (Doc. 32-22 at 105, Transcr. 103:3-8)

         Flores contends the officers used “sophisticated techniques of psychological manipulation, ” and engaged in a “psychologically coercive interrogation” that cause him “to become confused, come to doubt himself, and speculate that he might have shaken the baby too hard.” (Doc. 43-1 at 12, 14) Flores asserts that “the officers implied [he] would receive ‘forgiveness,' and thus more lenient treatment, if he stopped denying, ” stating:

For example, the officers told Mr. Flores, “What people don't understand is when somebody doesn't…stand up for and say what they did was wrong when they mess up, okay. People are very forgiving when people tell the truth and admit they made a mistake, okay” (Interrogation Transcr., 89:18-25, emphasis added). And again: “We understand accidents happen, okay. But if you don't own up to it, there is no-there is no getting past it. There is no forgiveness” (Interrogation Transcr., 98:10-13, emphasis added).

(Doc. 43-1 at 13) In addition, Flores contends the officers made statements such as there are “only a couple of ways that babies of that age end up with bleeding brains, ” but Galland later admitted, “[t]hat doesn't necessarily mean it's true.” (Id. at 14, quoting Galland Depo. 90:18-24, 95:5-8)

         During the interview, “Flores was given a doll and asked to demonstrate how he shook M.F.” (DSF 24) “Galland observed Mr. Flores start as though he was rocking the baby in his lap and then he accelerated and showed a more violent shaking motion.” (DSF 25) “Based on Detective Galland's observations, as well as his education, training, and experience, he knew that the doll was not that heavy and so it took a significant amount of energy to make the doll's head move.” (Id.) Flores demonstrated how he rocked M.F. while outside and said: “I was like this. I don't remember, like, if I was going hard or if I was going soft, or if you know, it happened at that time. Like, if I did it, I'm --I'm the worst -- ” (Doc. 32-22 at 145, Transcr. 143:4-8) The officers asked Flores to demonstrate the hardest shake Flores thought he could give M.F., which Flores did. (Id., 143:9-14) Flores again repeated:

I was outside, and then I was like this, but I don't know if it was, like, a hard shake. I don't remember if it was hard shake, if it was a little shake, a medium shake, if he was hitting his - his face against my chest.

(Doc. 32-22, Transcr. 145:8-12) As the questioning continued, the following statements were made:

Flores: I didn't shake my kid violently. I didn't say, “Shut the hell up.” Speaker No. 2: Okay.
Flores: I mean, I might have gotten a little frustrated and been, like, “calm down” or something, you know, like -- Speaker No. 2: Okay.
Flores: -- and maybe then I shook him a little too hard and -- Speaker No. 1: Too hard.
Flores: Maybe he hit his brain or something -- Speaker No. 2: Okay.
Flores: But that wasn't my intention.

(Doc. 32-22, Transcr. 148:18-149:6) Towards the end of the questioning, Flores stated: “I'll admit - I'll admit that the only time I actually moved him hard was when I was outside on the patio.” (Id., Transcr. 150:18-20) He repeated that he “didn't know [he] was shaking him too hard.” (Id., Transcr. 150:18-20) Further, Flores stated:

Did I mean to shake him -- like, even if I did shake him hard, which I don't remember, because I had so much things going on. I had this stream that I was supposed to start and I was late. I had to feed him. I changed his poopy big old diaper that like weighs five pounds.
He was being fussy still so I tried feeding him. He didn't eat. I took him outside.
He calmed down for a little bit and then he just started being fussy again and I didn't know what was wrong with him. I did, you know, try to comfort him and stuff, but I didn't know if I was doing it too hard. And if I did, it wasn't on purpose. I wasn't. And I hate myself for what I did. I would never hurt my kid. That baby is my life.

(Doc. 32-22 at 154-55, Transcr. 153:2-15) Galland then suspended the interview to consult with Sergeant Burdick and an on-scene social worker. (DSF 27) “Galland made the decision not to arrest anyone based on a lack of updated information from Children's Hospital.” (Id.) The interview with Flores lasted for 85 minutes. (UMF 12)

         M.F. was transferred to Valley Children's Hospital. (See UMF 13) On May 22, 2015, Galland received medical reports from the hospital. (Id.) The reports Galland received indicated “a bone scan had been conducted which showed several fractures to M.F.'s left humerus and both of his femurs, as well as a possible fracture to his left ulna.” (DSF 28) M.F.'s injuries were classified as “non accidental trauma.” (Id.) In addition, “an MRI conducted by Valley Children's Hospital showed several brain injuries and was characterized as “non accidental trauma.” (Id.) This information was later detailed in Galland's report. (Id.)

         The same day, Galland spoke with Dr. Phillip Hyden, a board-certified child abuse pediatrician, who was also the Medical Director of The Guilds Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Center at Valley Children's Hospital. (DSF 29) The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit had called Dr. Hyden to come and determine if M.F.'s injuries, and any further injuries found, were the result of non-accidental trauma. (Id.; see also Doc. 32-29 at 3, Hyden Depo. 18:8-12) Galland wrote in his report:

I spoke briefly with Dr. Hyden regarding the case. He indicated there were more tests to be conducted, and he had not had a chance to review all of the case files, but what he had seen to this point was clearly indicative as child abuse. Dr. Hyden and I made arrangements to speak the following week once more medical tests had been conducted and Dr. Hyden had a chance to review all of the documentation.

(Doc. 32-12 at 30) At his deposition in 2019, Dr. Hyden was unable to recall whether his first conversation with law enforcement in the case occurred on May 22, 2015. (Doc. 32-29 at 30, Depo. 96:5-8) However, Dr. Hyden acknowledged his notes indicated that he was informed: “Law enforcement had the father reenact the event with a doll, and the observation was that the father was very rough with the doll and the rocking was actually shaking with the head and neck being obviously affected by the violent movements.” (Id. at 19-20, Depo. 66:23- 67:9) Dr. Hyden testified that whether this information was true or not “would not change [his] opinion, because even though … histories are important, [he] can't assume they're true or false.” (Id. at 21, Depo. 68:2-4) In addition, Dr. Hyden testified that the discussion with Galland played no role in the physician's conclusion that M.F. was the victim of non-accidental, abusive head trauma. (Id. at 41, Depo. 110:13-18)

         Over the weekend, “Galland was advised that M.F.'s condition had worsened and that M.F. had numerous seizures and had been placed on seizure medication.” (UMF 14) In addition, Galland was informed that M.F. “remained on a ventilator.” (Id.) On May 25, 2015, Galland was notified by Valley Children's Hospital that an eye exam revealed M.F. had “numerous retinal hemorrhages and … had likely suffered severe irreversible brain damage.” (UMF 15) These updates were detailed in Galland's report. (UMF 14, 15)

         Genoveva Ramirez contacted Galland on May 26, 2015, indicating that “she found another photograph, which … showed a broken blood vessel in M.F.'s left eye.” (UMF 16) Ms. Ramirez estimated the photo was taken on May 14, 2015. (Id.) Galland “asked for a copy of the photo and also asked to speak with Sara Guzman again.” (UMF 17) Ms. Ramirez and Ms. Guzman went to the police department at about 3:00 p.m. that day, and Ms. Ramirez consented to Galland searching her phone, which was given to the computer forensics section to download photographs. (UMF 18; see also Doc. 32-12 at 31)

         Galland began a third discussion with Ms. Guzman at 3:19 p.m. on May 26, after again advising Ms. Guzman of her Miranda rights. (DSF 30) “Galland inquired further with Ms. Guzman about whether or not Jesus Flores was ever alone with M.F.” (DSF 31) “Ms. Guzman confirmed that Mr. Flores was alone with M.F. two times a week.” (Id.) When Galland asked who else could have done this, Ms. Guzman responded that she did not know. (Id.) She “ruled out her father as causing these problems and expressed concern she may have injured M.F. by picking him up by the arms.” (DSF 32) “In addition, Ms. Guzman told Detective Galland that Jesus Flores told her that during the time he was taking care of M.F., and during the time [M.F.] was in respiratory distress, that Jesus Flores had anxiety attacks and blacked out.” (DSF 33) Reviewing the events of May 21, Ms. Guzman reported Flores was also alone with M.F. when she and her mother were making lunch. (DSF 34) She told Galland that when M.F. was fussy, Plaintiff “usually hand[ed] him off, ” but she “did not know that [Plaintiff] did when he was unable to hand [M.F.] off.” (DSF 35)

         Galland and Dr. Hyden spoke later in the afternoon on May 26, 2015. (Doc. 32-6 at 6, Galland Decl. ¶ 16) According to Galland, Dr. Hyden stated “he was still in the process of reviewing medical records and had not formed his formal opinion, but the injuries that he had seen and the documents strongly indicated that [M.F.] had been abused, and that he had been abused on previous occasions as well.” (Doc. 32-12 at 31; see also Doc. 32-6 at 6, ¶ 16) Galland indicated in his report: “Dr. Hyden stated that based on the injuries he had seen he would state that it was highly likely that the brain injury which caused [M.F.] to stop breathing likely occurred no more than ten minutes before [M.F.] stopped breathing and possibly immediately after the injury occurred.” (Id. at 32; DSF 37) The only person alone with M.F. during the window of time-as identified in Galland's report -was Plaintiff. (DSF 38)

         Dr. Hyden later stated the information in Galland's report was incorrect, because Dr. Hyden did not “use exact numbers” and “would never say 10 minutes.” (Doc. 38-7 at 20, Hyden Depo. 43:19-23) Dr. Hyden testified, “I would have said possibly immediately, but I wouldn't have said a time, 10 minutes.” (Id. at 22, Hyden Depo. 45:11-16) When Plaintiff's counsel questioned “why [Dr. Hyden] did not tell Sgt. Galland 10 minutes, ” Dr. Hyden stated:

I would never say 10 minutes, because that's 600 seconds and I don't know if it's 600 seconds. I just know that it's almost immediate. I don't have a stopwatch. I can't predict exactly the time. But I know it doesn't take a long period of time after a severe event like this to cause a child to become unresponsive. It would be almost immediate is what I more than likely told him. I just don't recall.

(Doc. 32-29 at 25-26, Hyden Depo. 78:21- 79:3)

         On May 27 and 28, 2015, “Galland received updates from medical social workers and nurses at Valley Children's Hospital.” (DSF 39; Doc. 43-2 at 28) Galland was informed that Ms. Guzman claimed “she believed her mother, Genoveva Ramirez, had caused M.F.'s injuries.” (Id.) “[B]ased on the timeline provided by Dr. Hyden … Galland did not believe Ms. Ramirez was responsible as the only person with [M.F.] 15 minutes prior to his respiratory distress was Jesus Flores.” (Id.) In addition, Galland noted that “the fact that Ms. Guzman and her mother picked M.F. up by the arms did not explain the fractures to M.F.'s femurs.” (Id.)

         Flores was taken into custody on May 29, 2015, at approximately 2:50 p.m., and transported to the Bakersfield Police Department. (DSF 40; Doc. 43-2 at 29) Flores was again advised of his Miranda rights. (Id.) During the interview, Galland advised Plaintiff that the injuries suffered to M.F.'s brain, which caused M.F.'s respiratory distress, “had likely happened 10 to 15 minutes prior to when M.F. stopped breathing.” (DSF 41; Doc. 43-2 at 29) “Flores denied shaking M.F. and just said he had rocked him hard, but never shook him.” (Id.) “Galland also showed [Plaintiff] the picture that Genoveva Ramirez had provided depicting the obvious hemorrhage in M.F.'s eye and advised [him] that Ms. Ramirez could not have caused it because she had not been at the residence for a week.” (Id.) “Flores said if he had done this, even by accident, then he should be taken to jail.” (Id.) At the end of the interview, Plaintiff was arrested for: (1) child abuse causing significant brain injury or paralysis; (2) willful harm or injury to a child in violation of Penal Code 273a(a); and (3) assault resulting in great bodily harm, in violation of Penal Code 245(a)(4). (Doc. 32-6 at 7, Galland Decl. ¶ 18; see also Doc. 32-12 at 33)

         On May 29, 2015, at approximately 4:22 p.m., Galland submitted the Kern County Arietis form, including the following statement:

On 4/21/15 [sic] the victim, a 2 month old infant, was brought to the hospital in respiratory distress and with bruises on his face. Medical testing revealed the child had an acute brain injury. Follow-up medical testing showed numerous prior brain injuries and fractures in various states of healing. Medical experts have determined the child has suffered severe, permanent brain injury, and is currently in a coma being kept alive with a ventilator. Medical experts determined the child had suffered the most recent brain injuries as little as 10 minutes prior to the onset of the respiratory distress that prompted the call to 911. The only person alone with the child during the time period the injury occurred was the father, JESUS FLORES. Under Miranda, JESUS FLORES admitted to shaking the baby due to his frustration.

(UMF 21; Doc. 32-24 at 2) “The Probable Cause Declaration was ‘Approved by Judge' on May 29, 2015 at 5:02 p.m. (UMF 22; Doc 32-24 at 2) On May 30, 2015 at 12:02 a.m., Judge Brian McNamara signed the statement, indicating his determination that there was probable cause to believe Plaintiff had committed a crime. (Id.)

         On June 1, 2015, Galland spoke with Dr. Hyden again. (Doc. 32-6 at 7, Galland Decl. ¶ 20) In the police report, Galland noted:

Dr. Hyden told me that [M.F] was still in the PICU with a guarded prognosis, likely poor as the result of a severe traumatic brain injury. Dr. Hyden said [M.F.] requires the assistance of a ventilator, and is being medicated to prevent additional seizures. Dr. Hyden advised he had examined the medical records associated with case and had formed an opinion about the cause of the injuries. Dr. Hyden said the injuries, revealed in the tests conducted by Valley Children's Hospital and Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, were the result of child abuse.

(Doc. 32-12 at 35) In addition, Galland noted in the report that Dr. Hyden opined M.F.'s injuries- including “fractures to the left humerus, right humerus, right ulna, left femur, right femur, (all corner fractures or bucket handle fractures) a possible fracture to the left ulna, and a broken third rib”- could not have been caused during child birth. (Id. at 35-36) Further, Galland noted: “Dr. Hyden said he reviewed the blood work and other diagnostic tests and noted no reason for the fractures other than abuse.” (Id. at 36)

         On June 2, 2015, Galland submitted his report to the Kern County District Attorney's office. (Doc. 32-6 at 8, Galland Decl. ¶ 21) Galland “had no other communication regarding whether or not the District Attorney intended to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Flores.” (DSF 49; Doc. 43-2 at 35-36)

         On June 10, 2015, Galland received a phone call from Crystal Espinoza, who identified herself as a “friend of Jesus Flores.” (DSF 45) Galland reports: Ms. Espinoza indicated Flores “told her that he was alone with M.F., who was choking on throw up and so he shook him because he thought M.F. was going to pass out. I asked her if he said he shook the baby and she said he used the word ‘shook.'” (Doc. 32-6 at 8, Galland Decl. ¶ 22) During the conversation, which was recorded and transcribed, Ms. Espinoza stated:

[H]e was like -- he was -- he was -- he was, like, choking -- choking on his throat, you know. And it looked like he was going to pass out. And then, I guess, that's when Jesus tried to -- tried to, like, shake him. Not shake him. Like, he didn't intentionally try to hurt him but he shook him because he, like -- he didn't know what to do. He didn't know how to react. And that's when he told me -- Q. So he told you he shook -- he shook the baby?
A. Yeah, he -- yes, he told -- he told me that.
Q. Okay.
A. He was trying to wake him up. He didn't say that he shook him. He tried to wake him up.
Q. Which is -- you just said that he told you that he shook him and then you're saying --
A. He -- he said that he tried to wake him up, and I thought, okay, well, he probably shook him. That's what I'm saying. He tried to wake him up.

(Doc. 32-26 at 6-7; see also DSF 45) In addition, Ms. Espinoza indicated that Flores wanted to talk with her social worker, Janette Shaw. (Id. at 7)

         Galland reports that he spoke with Ms. Shaw on July 16, 2016. (Doc. 32-6 at 8, Galland Decl. ¶ 24) According to Galland, “Ms. Shaw told [him] that Jesus Flores told her that he ‘didn't hurt the baby' and ‘didn't shake him that hard'.” (Id.)

         B. Criminal Charges and Preliminary Proceedings

         The same day Galland submitted his report, the DA filed a criminal complaint in Kern County Superior Court, No. BF160324A charging Flores with crimes related to M.F.'s injuries. (UMF 25; see also Doc. 32-40 at 4)

         Eric Smith, a Deputy District Attorney involved with the prosecution of Jesus Flores, reports that his “office received not only the Police Report pertaining to Jesus Flores, but also the audio and video recordings of the interviews that were conducted, photographs, [and] medical records pertaining to M.F.” (Doc. 32-8 at 1-2, Smith Decl. ¶¶ 2-4) He asserts the Kern County District Attorney's Office “reviewed all of the evidence independently of what was stated in the police report.” (Id. at 2, ¶5) According to Mr. Smith, “[a]t no time did any City of Bakersfield representative or Bakersfield Police Department employee, including Detective Galland, exert any pressure or influence on the Kern County District Attorney's office or [Smith] to file charges and/or criminally prosecute Mr. Flores.” (Id., ¶ 6) Mr. Smith reports the decision to file charges “was made independently.” (Id.)

         On June 2, 2015, Flores appeared before Judge Michael Bush, who set bail at $1, 000, 0000 and issued a “criminal protective order” “[a]s a term and condition of [his] bail, ” which prevented Flores from having any contact with M.F. (UMF 25) In addition, a pre-preliminary hearing was set for June 11, with a preliminary hearing to occur the following day on June 12, 2015. (Id.) Galland had no contact with Judge Bush and “did not testify at that hearing.” (DSF 62)

         Flores appeared at hearings in June, July, and September 2015; during which he agreed to continuances of the preliminary hearing. (DSF 63; Doc. 32-41 at 4; Doc. 32-42 at 4; Doc. 32-43 at 4) The preliminary hearing was held finally in No. BF160324A on October 21, 2015. (UMF 26) Plaintiff was represented by David Faulkner, while the People were represented by Kristina Wenzel. (Id.; see also Doc. 38-9 at 2) “The District Attorney called two witnesses at the Preliminary Hearing and Mr. Flores's counsel called no witnesses.” (UMF 27)

         Officer Achtmann was the first witness called, and he testified about “being dispatched to the subject residence on May 21, 2015 and his communications with Mr. Flores.” (UMF 27) Achtmann testified that when he arrived, Flores was there by himself and M.F. was being transported to Memorial Hospital. (Doc. 38-9 at 9-10) Achtmann stated Flores said he had been home alone with M.F. (Id. at 10) Achtmann testified that Flores said M.F. woke up crying, so Flores attempted to sooth him. (Id.) In addition, Flores told the officer that M.F. started having trouble breathing and became unresponsive after vomiting, despite splashing water on the baby's face. (Id. at 10) Achtmann testified Flores stated he dialed 911 after about two minutes and performed CPR by placing M.F. face-up on the floor. (Id.)

         Galland was the second witness called at the hearing. (DSF 64; Doc. 43-2) “Galland testified that Dr. Naven advised him that M.F. was in acute respiratory distress and that he noticed bruises on M.F.'s cheeks and that Dr. Naven ordered a CAT Scan from which he noticed subdural hematomas and bleeding in the brain.” (Id.) Galland also testified that Dr. Naven informed him “[a]t least one of the hematomas was fresh and there were older healing subdural hematomas, ” and he did not believe the bruising on M.F.'s cheeks would be caused by CPR. (Id.)

         Galland testified about the May 21 interview with Flores, and stated: “He admitted to at one point to shaking the child. He stated that he started off rocking the child. That didn't work. And he demonstrated using a stuffed animal and demonstrated him shaking the child.” (Doc. 38-9 at 21; see also DSF 66, Doc. 43-2 at 66) Galland said he spoke to Flores about getting frustrated or angry with the baby, and Flores said “he sometimes gets frustrated because the child won't stop crying.” (Id.) Galland stated that Flores indicated he was frustrated on May 21 because M.F. “wouldn't stop crying, ” and he could not figure out why after trying to feed him, sooth him, and changing his diaper. (Id. at 22) Flores also “was receiving messages from people who watch him play video games online asking him why he wasn't online yet.” (Id.) Galland stated he could not “recall specifically if [Flores] said he shook the baby in response to that, ” but Flores indicated he shook the baby on that date, and demonstrated using a “stuffed animal … or stuffed baby.” (Id. at 22-23) Galland testified also that Flores “stated that he shook him harder than he meant to.” (Id. at 23)

         Further, Galland testified about his discussions with Dr. Hyden, including “Dr. Hyden's conclusion that M.F.'s injuries were the result of child abuse and that the hemorrhaging in both retinas was the result of shaking and child abuse.” (DSF 67; see also Doc. 38-9 at 26-27) Galland said, “[Dr. Hyden] stated that based on the injuries that he saw in the CAT scans that the child would have stopped breathing almost immediately, if not -- and if not immediately within 10 minutes.” (Doc. 38-9 at 27:5-8) Galland testified that on June 1, he talked with Dr. Hyden and was informed M.F. “was intubated, on a ventilator, ” and having seizures. (Id. at 28:7-12) Further, Galland testified he was told by Dr. Hyden that “the injuries he saw on [M.F.] were the result of child abuse, ” and he based this opinion on the injuries to the brain, broken bones, and retinal hemorrhaging. (Id., 28:19-26) In addition, Galland stated that Dr. Hyden reported M.F. “had a torn ligament in his neck, ” which was indicative of “shaking and child abuse.” (Id. at 29-30) According to Galland, Dr. Hyden classified the “corner and bucket-handle fractures” that M.F. suffered as “non-accidental trauma.” (See id., 29:13-24)

         During cross-examination, Mr. Faulkner asked Galland to describe the shaking Flores demonstrated during the videotaped interview. (Doc. 38-9 at 30) Galland stated: “He was holding the child, as I recall, facing him. He said that he started rocking him, that wasn't working. He got frustrated and he started shaking. While he was doing that, the stuffed animal that he was holding, the head was snapping violently back and forth.” (Id. at 30:24-28) Mr. Faulkner asked if the head was unsupported while the shaking was going on, and Galland responded: “Correct.”[3] (Id. at 31:1-3)

         Mr. Faulkner established through questioning that “M.F. had bruises on his face prior to the date in question.” (UMF 34; see also Doc. 38-9 at 34, 36-37) Galland described the interviews with M.F.'s relatives, and testified that Ms. Guzman noticed the bruises on M.F.'s face on Monday that week. (Doc. 38-9 at 41:12-17) When asked to describe the bucket-handle fractures, Galland stated:

I'm not a medical doctor, so I'm paraphrasing, but my understanding is that where the tendons attach at the edges of the bone they are caused when the joints, or say, for example, the arm is violently shaken, the muscle tone of a child, of a baby does not have the same capability to retard the motion as an adult and that the - they're essentially a repetitive- use injury. They're -- they cause microfractures until finally the bone rips away from the -- the bone connected to the tendon rips away from the main portion of the bone.

(Id. at 40:27-42:9)

         Following the testimony of Achtmann and Galland, the court determined there was “probable cause to believe that the offenses as alleged, including any enhancements, have been committed and sufficient cause to believe … [Flores] committed those offenses.” (Doc. 38-9 at 44)

         C. Termination of Parental Rights

         On May 22, 2015, Social Services became involved in investigating M.F.'s welfare. (DSF 103) Bonnie Holt, “a social service worker with the Kern County Department of Human Services, ” became involved in M.F.'s case on that date. (Doc. 32-7 at 1-2, Holt Decl. ¶¶ 1, 4) Ms. Holt reports, “Once the child was taken to the hospital… and there were concerns that the child's injuries were the result of abuse, [DHS] was responsible for conducting an investigation, separate and apart from any investigation conducted by the police, to determine what would be in the best interest of the child.” (Id. at 2, ¶ 4)

         Between May 22 and June 25, 2015, Ms. Holt “was in constant contact with several medical social workers from Valley Children's Hospital regarding M.F.'s status.” (Doc. 32-7 at 2, Holt Decl. ¶ 6) She reports that she was “requesting and being provided with M.F.'s medical records so that [she] could evaluate M.F.'s condition and his doctors' impressions and diagnoses.” (Id.) Ms. Holt asserts: “To the extent I was in contact with the Bakersfield Police Department, and specifically Detective Galland, it was mostly procedural or administrative in nature. I wanted particular photographs or to know if M.F.'s mother was a person of interest. I wanted to view videos of the interviews on M.F.'s mother and Jesus Flores.” (Id., ¶ 5) In addition, Ms. Holt reports that during the course of her investigation, she took the following actions:

I personally interviewed numerous individuals including M.F.'s mother, Jesus Flores, M.F.'s maternal grandmother, and M.F.'s maternal aunt. I also personally watched the videos of the interviews that had been conducted by the Bakersfield Police Department including videos of M.F.'s mother, Jesus Flores, M.F.'s maternal grandmother, M.F.'s material step grandfather[, ] M.F.'s maternal aunt, and cousin. I submitted regular reports to the Juvenile Justice Center which outlined the history of the case and the findings and impressions made by the social workers involved in M.F.'s case.

(Id., ¶ 7)

         On June 26, 2015, the Kern County Department of Health Services (“DHS”) filed a petition based upon its investigation, alleging:

M.F. was at risk of suffering serious physical harm inflicted non- accidentally by a parent or as a result of a parent's failure to adequately protect him and M.F., who was under the age of five, suffered severe physical abuse by a parent or another person known by the parent, and the parent knew or reasonably should have known that person was physically abusing the child.

(Doc. 37-7 at 2, Holt Decl. ¶ 8; see also DSF 13) The same date, the hospital discharged M.F., and he was ...


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