Discussion in 'Located Persons Discussion' started by LisaWL7TR, Oct 20, 2017.
i think it is because they had already enpaneled a jury.
That’s what I’d read, but I still don’t get the logic of it. As I see it, since the judge couldn’t possibly convict him, no matter how convincing the evidence was, how could jeopardy exist?
Mid-trial, judge dismisses case against Vista husband accused of killing his wife
Dec 17, 2019
After the prosecution rested its case Thursday, the case against Hector Garcia Martinez, 41, was dismissed. He had been accused of killing 38-year-old Maria Elena Guzman Cordova, who disappeared from their Vista apartment in October 2017.
Superior Court Judge Michael Washington’s ruling, made outside the presence of the jury, came after defense attorney Elysia Wilschke asked the judge to dismiss the case for lack of evidence.
Martinez cannot be retried for murder in the death of Guzman, who was his wife of 20 years and mother of their three daughters. Because the jury had already been empaneled when the charge was dismissed, double jeopardy prevents prosecutors from again charging him with the same crime, even if new evidence later surfaces.
In court filings arguing that the case should be dismissed for lack of evidence, Martinez’s attorney said there was no physical evidence linking Martinez to his wife’s death and argued that forensic evidence exonerated him.
Cadaver dogs, she noted, did not hit on anything in the family’s apartment or cars. Trash bags seized from Martinez’s work truck days after Guzman’s disappearance did not match the types of trash bags in which her remains were found 11 months later.
A court filing from the defense indicates Washington was not the first judge to be troubled by the case.
In September, at the end of Martinez’s preliminary hearing — where a judge reviews evidence to see if enough proof exists to order the defendant to face trial — Superior Court Judge Carlos Armour told attorneys his decision to order Martinez to face trial was “a very close case.”
Armour noted that the burden of proof at trial — which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt — is a much higher standard than called for at a preliminary hearing, which is just a strong suspicion of guilt.
Man accused in wife’s disappearance pleads not guilty to murder | FOX 5 San Diego
Hector Garcia Martinez, 39, was ordered held without bail by Judge James E. Simmons.
He was arrested last week on suspicion of murdering 38-year-old Maria Elena Guzman-Cordova, who was reported missing on Oct. 14, 2017, from her residence on North Santa Fe Avenue, San Diego County sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams said.
The defendant told sheriff’s investigators that Guzman-Cordova left the family’s apartment shortly after 9 p.m. the previous night to take a walk after the couple had argued, Williams said. He also told deputies that Guzman-Cordova did not take any personal items with her, according to the lieutenant. But according to investigators, she was getting ready to leave her husband.
Judge Simmons explained his reasoning for denying bail. “She informed others that she wanted to leave the relationship and made those thoughts clear to others, and the people (prosecutors) believe that may have been a motive in for this incident.”
Martinez was arrested Thursday morning near his Vista residence, more than a year after he reported his wife missing.
“Maria’s remains were recently located in a rural area near Palomar Mountain and positively identified through her DNA,” Williams said. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office examined the remains but was unable to determine the cause of death, he said.
Detectives allege Martinez transported Guzman-Cordova’s body to the Palomar Mountain area in a four-door white sedan or a burgundy SUV last year on Oct. 13 or Oct. 14. In court it was revealed that investigators believe the murder took place in the couple’s home, and the following morning, Martinez drove his 5-year-old daughter to his parents’ home with his wife’s body in the car. “Based on information provided by the people, the victim may have been in the trunk of the vehicle at the time that that happened and the victims body was then dumped near Palomar Mountain,” Simmons said.
“Evidence gathered over the course of the year-long investigation linked Martinez to Maria Guzman’s murder,” Williams said.
This is a good case to highlight what investigators/prosecutors believed sufficient evidence to issue an arrest warrant was insufficient for to jury to determine proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Couples arguing pending separation or divorce are prone to certain behaviors which don't necessarily equate to proof of murder.
Sometimes the benefit to delaying an arrest is better technology to detect DNA, or witnesses willing to come forward after the passage of time.
A perfect example of how prosecutors only get one bite at the apple.