Expert witnesses may sway jury in drug trial - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Expert witnesses may sway jury in drug trial

Posted: May 17, 2018 4:53 PM Updated:

There were major developments in the Martinez/Moser trial, as the case draws to a close. Expert witness testimonies heard today could possibly influence the jury. Expert witnesses brought on by the defense team of Raymond Martinez and Juanita Moser could ultimately aid in their argument of entrapment.

Internationally recognized K9 expert, Kyle Hayen, raised a lot of questions surrounding the K9 search of the couple's vehicle after he reviewed the facts.

Like what exactly alerted Redondo Beach Police Department K9 dog Blitz during a sniff search of the van? And where exactly did the odor originate from?

According to Hayen's expert opinion, he concluded that the dog Blitz was a properly trained and functioning alert dog. And that once he was able to pinpoint the source of the odor he was trained to identify, i.e. drugs, he indicated it in an aggressive manner. Like when he broke off the GPS tracking device installed near the rear of the van by HSI Special Agent Matthew Hernandez.

Now, when questioned by the Prosecution, if the dog could have smelled the drugs located in the vehicle through a crack in the car, Hayen said it was unlikely. If the dog did indeed smell drugs within the van, he would have jumped through the open vehicle and scratched at the buckets where they were hidden. But only responded when one of the sealed bags was placed in a backpack, that also had not been properly checked.

This still doesn't explain or refute why the dog responded to the GPS device.

There were other concerning factors for Hayen including the actions of RBPD Officer Daniel Richey.

Such as his failure to seek approval from his watch commander when asked to conduct a search for the Torrance Police Department 12 hours prior to the actual search and his omission of details regarding the GPS tracker in his investigation reports. Additional testimony from Docomo IT Architect and GPS expert, Somchoy Estralado placed doubt on some of the previous testimonies of HSI Agents Hernandez and Matanguihan and TPD Officer Ryan Schmitz.

According to Estralado's analysis of the GPS data, changes had been made to tracker, meaning that someone had to be monitoring the device since its installation on June 1st, 2015. This is contrary to the HSI Agents denial of monitoring the GPS tracker which they had installed without a warrant.

On a similar note, Officer Schmitz previously testified he had performed a traffic stop on the defendants' vehicle because it was speeding, 52 in a 45 mph zone. A stop that eventually led to the discovery of more than 8 pounds of methamphetamine. However, the data proves the vehicle never exceeded past 31 mph. All crucial information coming out just before closing arguments.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Fred Black did raise the question if these testimonies had been affected by the fact these experts were being paid upwards of $5,000 each by defense.

However, both witnesses denied the claim. But will this breaking new information be enough to sway the jury's opinion?

Closing arguments will be heard tomorrow.

 

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