Fresno Police Officer Called a Liar

May 5, 2009 8:20:21 PM PDT
A jury will begin deliberations Wednesday morning in the trial of a Fresno officer accused of auto theft. Paul Cervantes is accused of stealing that car from a suspected drug dealer.Prosecutors rarely call a Fresno Police Officer a liar during a trial. But in this case, the prosecutor is trying to prove Officer Cervantes stole a car from a man named Humberto Quintero. The defense on the other hand told the jury not to trust Quintero.

Prosecutor Pat Caples said, "He got caught in a lie. A bold face lie." Caples took direct aim at Officer Cervantes. During closing arguments on Tuesday, the prosecutor said Cervantes was a high performing undercover officer busting major dealers.

Investigators say last year at a South Fresno restaurant Cervantes busted suspected drug dealer Humberto Quintero. But Cervantes is accused stealing Quintero's car at the scene and giving it to his paid informant named Jesus Valles. Caples called Officer Cervantes an investigator who only wanted to bust criminals at any costs, "We can get sloppy there. It doesn't matter because we are bringing in a lot of big cases. Sloppy this. Sloppy that. Cut a few corners. Steal a car from some low life drug dealer ...who is probably not going to miss it anyhow."

Defense Attorney Terry Bowman tried to discredit the alleged victim in the case by saying, "One person with nothing but reasons to lie. One person out to save his own skin can point his own finger and lead to all of this." Cervantes' testified during his trial. He said he thought his informant had a deal to purchase Quintero's car. The officer's attorney said Cervantes is the one to trust not a drug dealer. Bowman said, "He has every reason to lie about it. Nothing about the way the allegation came out from Quintero has any sense of truth to it."

The jury will return Wednesday morning to begin deliberating. If convicted, Paul Cervantes could face up to three years in prison.

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