Fresno Police Officer Cleared of Auto Theft Charge

February 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Friday's preliminary hearing ended with one of the two accused Fresno Police officers being cleared of auto theft charges. A judge decided prosecutors didn't have enough evidence against Hector Becerra -- the taller of the two seen here.But the officer's attorney isn't ready to celebrate just yet. Carl Faller, said, "There is a possibility the prosecution, they can attempt to file the charges a second time. And them if that was the case, we would have to go through the process again."

ABC 30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi believes Becerra and Paul Cervantes will likely end up on trial together. The officers were arrested last month, accused of using Jesus Valles, a former police informant, to lure a suspected drug dealer and then steal his car. Capozzi said, "I think what the D.A. will most likely do now is go back re-investigate the case bring in the additional evidence in another preliminary hearing and both defendants will go to trial together with the informant.

The informant's attorney Ralph Torrez, said his client trusted the police officers saying they gave Valles the car as payment for working with them. "Mr. Valles didn't do anything wrong. He didn't do anything criminal everything he did was at the direction of law enforcement."

A CHP investigator testified Friday during the preliminary hearing that all three men acted together. But the judge disagreed saying the prosecutor did not present enough evidence against Becerra. Cervantes' attorney Terry Bowman, is still confident they'll beat all the charges. "When it comes to trial, these accusers who have no credibly will have to testify. They won't be able to keep their story straight or maintain any level of credibility."

Officer Cervantes and Valles return to court next month. The two officers remain on paid administrative leave.

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