On July 3, 2003, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles McDaniel arrested three teenagers for allegedly throwing rocks and beer bottles at him and his partner after a fireworks show in La Puente, California. McDaniel said one of the bottles struck a vehicle and shattered, sending shards of glass into his face.
The teenagers–Daniel Gonzalez, 18, and Jonathan Dominguez and Jeffery Funes, both 15–were charged with assaulting a peace officer.
In November 2006, Gonzalez pleaded guilty. Dominguez and Funes were found guilty in a juvenile court hearing on November 30, 2006, after McDaniel testified that they had thrown rocks and bottles and said he was struck in the face by shattered glass.
After the hearing, the defendants’ attorney, Richard Escobedo, discovered that the beer bottle that McDaniel claimed was the source of his injuries was in evidence and was still intact. Escobedo filed a motion for a new trial.
On December 21, 2006, Pomona Superior Court Judge Daniel Lopez granted the motion and vacated the convictions of Funes and Dominguez, ruling that McDaniel had given false testimony. The judge said, “I feel I have been flat out lied to, to be quite candid.” The judge then dismissed the charges in the interest of justice.
On January 17, 2007, Judge Lopez vacated Gonzalez’s guilty plea and dismissed the case.
Escobedo filed a formal complaint with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. In January 2008 the department informed Escobedo that McDaniel had violated department policy and that “appropriate administrative action” was taken.
– Maurice Possley