Judge Refuses To Release Ex-San Diego Police Officer Arevalos Convicted Of Sexual Assault
Thursday, March 6, 2014
A judge Thursday granted a stay of his order overturning two counts against a former San Diego police officer convicted of sexually assaulting women he encountered on the job, and also denied a request to release the defendant pending appeal.
Judge Jeffrey Fraser last month overturned charges of sexual battery by restraint and assault and battery by a peace officer because handwritten notes from Officer Anthony Arevalos' main accuser were not turned over to the defense.
Fraser wrote in his 12-page ruling that he was not confident a jury would have convicted the 18-year veteran officer on those counts if his defense team had access to the notes.
The District Attorney's Office immediately appealed Fraser's ruling.
An appellate attorney for Arevalos, Pat Ford, told the judge Thursday that with time taken off the defendant's original sentence of eight years and eight months, Arevalos could conceivably be released from prison in September if the appeal is denied.
Ford also said Arevalos would be a good candidate for probation if the judge's decision to overturn the two counts is affirmed and the defendant is re-sentenced on his remaining convictions.
But Fraser said prosecutors had a right to appeal his ruling overturning the two counts.
The appeal process could take up to a year.
"We have to play this process out," the judge said.
Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle said his office has the option to retry the overturned counts if the appeal is unsuccessful.
"The District Attorney's Office is certainly committed to holding Officer Arevalos accountable for each of his victims and that's something we would certainly do, and that's what we're trying to do in the Court of Appeal."
The ex-officer was convicted in November 2011 of felony and misdemeanor charges involving five women stopped in the Gaslamp District, including multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, asking for a bribe and assault and battery by a police officer. He was acquitted of other serious charges involving two other women.
The notes in question surfaced during a federal lawsuit the woman — known as "Jane Doe" — has filed against the city of San Diego.
Nowhere in the handwritten notes does she say that Arevalos actually touched her genitalia, Ford said earlier.