Date set for tased suspect's trial



The bar patron whom Morro Bay police officers doused with pepper spray and tased several times during an arrest last summer will get his day in court more than a year after the incident, with a jury trial scheduled for July 8. Attorneys and San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Rita Federman agreed to the date during a trial-setting conference on
April 10.

On June 8, 2012, police reported that Brian Lopez Martinez was drunk and had taunted officers before violently resisting arrest, but Lopez Martinez denied the allegations. He and several witnesses have told New Times that police prompted the scuffle themselves.

The misdemeanor case has been postponed multiple times, partly due to the defense’s difficulty in getting replies to evidence requests sent to law enforcement and the district attorney’s office for video and audio recordings of the incident. Defense attorney Lou Koory said at the trial-setting conference that he plans on filing a discovery compliance sanction motion. If Federman determines that the district attorney’s office has withheld evidence or failed to comply with reasonable requests for discovery, she has a range of options for sanctioning the deputy district attorneys who’ve handled the case, including its outright dismissal. Deputy District Attorney Dave Pomeroy handled the case for the people until March, when Kate Seacrest took over.

Another delaying factor was a co-defendant’s felony case. Joseph Ian was charged with assault against an officer, participating in a riot, and being drunk in public after allegedly pulling Lopez Martinez from the officers’ grasp and violently resisting his own arrest. New Times reported in December that Ian turned down a plea deal and vowed to prove his innocence, but on Jan. 23, he apparently changed his mind. He entered a guilty plea to a charge of resisting or delaying an officer, and the other charges were dropped. Ian was sentenced to 20 days in jail and 18 months of probation.

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