Fresno DA Office Discrimination Case

November 24, 2008 7:06:18 PM PST
The woman suing the Fresno County District Attorney's office for gender discrimination took the witness stand on Monday. Judy Tucker is an investigator who handled some of the county's most notorious cases. She gave jurors a revealing look into her personal life.Tucker is trying to prove she faced gender discrimination under the current and former district attorneys. But Tucker had to confront a controversial part of her career involving a high profile molestation case.

The jury made up of four men and eight women heard intimate testimony from Tucker. Tucker said, "You are talking sexual molestation, and I think it is a very difficult, and the parents were upset." Tucker testified about the decade old- Joseph Nieto case: a Clovis teacher accused of molesting 14 students.

Joseph Nieto said in 1998, "I wish I could get up here and say, 'Forgive me for what I've done. Forgive me for this.' " Nieto always maintained his innocence and was eventually acquitted on most charges. Tucker helped with Nieto's prosecution. During that time, she faced scrutiny for dating a police officer also investigating the case. District Attorney Elizabeth Egan launched an investigation to see if Tucker could have made up evidence with the officer. Tucker testified, "As a police officer when your credibility is attached ... It is a humongous deal that is the essence your honor, your integrity."

Tucker felt the investigation was unfair. She claimed both Egan and Former District Attorney Ed Hunt discriminated against her. But defense attorney Michael Woods told jurors, Hunt gave women opportunities to advance, "You will have evidence of the number of women he promoted to leadership positions. When he started in 1983, there were few women but there were a lot more women when he was done."

Tucker is expected to continue testifying Tuesday. At some point, both District Attorney Egan and the former DA are scheduled to testify.

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