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Thread Box:
Trial - Marco Antonio Valencia
Thread started by DJwheels at 04.8.11 - 8:15 am

Jury selection is supposed to begin today out at the San Fernando Courthouse for this case in Dept. C. Opening statements should kick off next week.

Only took about a year and nine months to get to this point. Valencia has been in custody the whole time.

Valencia is charged with several felonies, including 2nd degree murder for the death of Joseph Novotny. He plowed into a peleton one morning when he was intoxicated. He also had a suspended license from a prior DUI.

Article - The Signal

More about the incident

Stay tuned for updates here or on twitter: DannyJwheels

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Was he driving home from FMLY ride?



dancro
04.8.11 - 8:22 am

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Dunno...come out to the trial and find out.



DJwheels
responding to a comment by dancro
04.8.11 - 8:49 am

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wow this Marco Antonio Valencia sounds like a big loser. He aint going nowhere in life.

Hope his prison stay is unpleasant!



JOKER
04.9.11 - 10:39 am

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Jury Selection is still not done after two afternoon sessions on Friday and yesterday. They will resume this afternoon at 1:30.

We'll see if opening statements will begin as well.



DJwheels
04.12.11 - 12:46 pm

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Testimony is underway.

Article with PICTURE here





DJwheels
04.15.11 - 8:03 am

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Prosecution rests. Defense will call their only witness this afternoon. Closing arguments most likely tomorrow.



DJwheels
04.25.11 - 1:12 pm

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The defense's expert witness, Dr. Ari Kalechstein, a neuro-psychologist who has testified in numerous other trials, about the effect of intoxication on the brain and the effect on behavior, offered the opinion that Valencia was "unconscious" (either blacked out or passed out) at the time of the collision with the cyclists.

The prosecution's cross examination has begun and will resume tomorrow morning at 10:30am. So far, the prosecution is attempting to establish that although someone is "unconscious" they are still aware of what they are doing. Also that despite the expert's opinion, he can not provide the jury with any indication of what was going on in the mind of Valencia at the time of the collision.

After the defense rests, the judge and attorneys will have to confer about the appropriate jury instructions to read to the jury before closing arguments begin.

Hopefully they get through it all tomorrow so the jury can start deliberating.



DJwheels
04.25.11 - 5:55 pm

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Wow thanks for keeping us updated on this. I'd like to know the outcome.



et
responding to a comment by DJwheels
04.25.11 - 6:02 pm

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Latest article here

Pasted below:

SAN FERNANDO — Marco Valencia was probably unconscious behind the wheel when his truck plowed into a group of bicyclists on Bouquet Canyon Road in 2009, a neuropsychologist testified Monday during Valencia’s murder trial.

If Valencia, 22, of Canyon Country, is to be convicted of second-degree murder, the 12-person jury must find that Valencia acted with implied malice and disregard for human life when he got behind the wheel of his Ford F-150 truck, court officials said.

Valencia’s defense attorney Robert Wilder argued his client couldn’t have been aware of the consequences of his actions at the time of the crash if he was clinically unconscious.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, said Valencia was fully aware of the dangers of drunken driving before he drank his first beer that night, since he had been convicted of DUI twice before.

On the morning of July 11, 2009, Valencia was allegedly driving drunk northbound on Bouquet Canyon Road when he allegedly drove his truck head-on into a group of about nine bicyclists who were riding on the southbound shoulder.

Stevenson Ranch resident Joseph Novotny was killed in the crash, and several other cyclists were injured.

Valencia was arrested minutes later about 15 miles north of the crash.

Neuropsychologist Ari Kalechstein, testifying for the defense, said Valencia was so intoxicated that he didn’t comprehend the danger he had put other Saugus motorists and pedestrians in.

Although Valencia was physically able to drive, he was intoxicated to the point of being considered clinically unconscious, Kalechstein said.

“If (a clinically unconscious person) wanted to, they could walk over to their car and put the key in the ignition,” Kalechstein said. “The problem is, oftentimes they can’t remember what they did and they can’t think before they act or comprehend the consequences of their actions.”

Kalechstein said he formed his opinion of Valencia’s state of mind at the time of the crash after reviewing witness testimony and toxicology reports that measured Valencia’s blood alcohol content at .23 after the crash.

Deputy District Attorney William Chung questioned the validity of Kalechstein’s opinion during cross examination.

Chung pointed out that before Valencia started drinking, Valencia knew the risks of driving drunk. Valencia, who is not scheduled to testify during his trial, took court-mandated DUI classes explaining the risks before the fatal crash.

Kalechstein paused for several seconds before answering Chung’s questions and asked for the questions to be worded differently.

When he did answer the questions, Kalechstein spoke in scientific jargon that Chung said would be confusing to jurors.

“Can you step outside of your scientific field for one second and talk to me as a human being?” Chung asked.

Kalechstein said he was insulted by the question.

Valencia could be sentenced to up to 27 years to life if convicted of murder. The Canyon Country resident is also charged with DUI causing great bodily injury and leaving the scene of an accident.



DJwheels
04.26.11 - 8:30 am

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Go get 'em DDA Will Chung!



liquidpremium
04.26.11 - 11:10 am

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Cross exam of the defense witness has ended. Jury is ordered back at 2pm to receive the jury instructions. Closing arguments will begin afterward.



DJwheels
04.26.11 - 1:29 pm

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The comments on these articles really leave me fighting tooth and nail for self control. I literally cannot reconcile life in a society alongside people who believe these cyclists got what was coming to them.

Life in prison is too good for this filth. Burn him at the stake.



outerspace
responding to a comment by DJwheels
04.26.11 - 2:00 pm

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like why should anyone blame the guy with the .23 blood alcohol concentration? clearly it was the cyclists' fault.



liquidpremium
responding to a comment by outerspace
04.26.11 - 3:48 pm

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When can we put Kalechstein on trial? What would it take to file a suit against him? Would it even be possible?

What a fucking douche! I hope he gets run over by someone "unconscious driving".



parlorbikes
04.27.11 - 12:44 am

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Sadly, that's the way our legal system works. Lawyers call paid "expert" witnesses to testify for them. Many are reputable, but others are whores who will testify to just about anything for the right price.



liquidpremium
responding to a comment by parlorbikes
04.27.11 - 6:17 am

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No, you can't sue an expert witness for providing an opinion. However, a regular witness can be criminally prosecuted by the State or federal government for perjury if they lie on the stand, like Barry Bonds.

Trial experts like these exist because the door is left open by the law. There is a valid defense to 2nd degree murder which says that if the person committed the act while "unconscious," then they could not have had the required criminal intent (mental state) to commit murder. This usually arises in a case where someone falls asleep at the wheel or passes out due to some medical condition (heart attack, stroke etc.). Another example, the DA gave me was if someone is sleepwalking.

The "alcohol induced blackout" has always been a thorny issue in the courts in these DUI-murder cases because it's difficult to prove the required criminal intent of the defendant. This is also why lesser charges exist (vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with gross negligence & vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, but without gross negligence.)

Many defendants don't choose to roll the dice with a jury in a DUI-murder charge because most people in the public probably wouldn't buy the "unconscious" defense. The stakes are too high to take the chance. But in this case, Valencia doesn't have much to lose because he's gonna get a long sentence anyway just on the DUI, hit and run and probation violations.

The DA's office decided to push the DUI-murder charge in this case because he had prior DUIs, participated in the DUI and Morgue programs, wrote a letter to his counselor about never wanting to drink and drive again, and then witnesses saw him driving for a while (driving badly, but avoiding major collisions) just before the collision with the cyclists. The DA pointed to ALL of these factors to establish that Valencia had the required mental state, was not "unconscious," and was aware of the consequences of his actions.

The defense made it clear that they were not suggesting Valencia is completely innocent. He actually did a very good job of being respectful of the victim and his family and respectful of the jury's common sense. In fact, he was saying yes, convict him of what he's done - DUI, hit and run and even involuntary manslaughter, but just NOT to convict him of 2nd degree murder. He stressed that it was the DA's burden to prove to them beyond a reasonable doubt that Valencia acted with "implied malice," which means determining what was going on in his Valencia's own mind.

This is a difficult thing to ask of anyone because you're asking them to say definitively what was going on in the defendant's mind.

We'll see what the jury thinks.

Jury deliberations begin today.




DJwheels
04.27.11 - 8:39 am

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Marco Valencia has been found guilty on all counts, including 2nd degree murder of cyclist Joseph Novotny.

Jury reached a verdict in only an hour and 20 minutes.

Couldn't make it but confirmed with the DA.

Valencia faces 15 years to life for the murder charge. He faces about 15 to life (plus about 9 years for special circumstances) for count 2 which was gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Sentencing is May 26 at 8:45 in Dept. C. All of the surviving cyclists and family of the victim have been invited to make statements prior to the judge's ruling.





DJwheels
04.27.11 - 4:51 pm

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Thanks for all the updates DJwheels.
"Justice" still feels a bit hollow.
Those cyclists will be living with injuries and without a friend for the rest of their lives.



trickmilla
responding to a comment by DJwheels
04.27.11 - 5:15 pm

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Why did he want to get sent up for involuntary manslaughter but not 2nd degree murder? It sounds like he was fucked coming or going and he knew it.



Two_Feet
responding to a comment by DJwheels
04.27.11 - 5:23 pm

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This seems like a similar situation: Dr. George Denkowski is reprimanded and fined ($5,500) by Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists... for offering opinions about the mental state of death row prisoners based on testing that was "scientifically unsound".



trickmilla
responding to a comment by DJwheels
04.27.11 - 5:28 pm

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Big difference in the amount of prison time.



liquidpremium
responding to a comment by Two_Feet
04.27.11 - 6:06 pm

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wasnt one of the victims a sheriff?



Roadblock
04.27.11 - 6:30 pm

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One of the cyclists who testified was an Officer "Beretta" of the LAPD

http://www.the-signal.com/section/36/article/43399/



liquidpremium
responding to a comment by Roadblock
04.27.11 - 6:59 pm

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Thanks for all the updates DJ wheels.
"Good" thing he hit a cop. That will put him away for awhile.



marino
04.27.11 - 7:59 pm

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A Canyon Country man was sentenced today to 26 years to life in prison for a fatal DUI two years ago that killed one cyclist and injured three others.

San Fernando Superior Court Judge Daniel Feldstern sentenced Marco Antonio Valencia, 22. He was convicted in April of second-degree murder for the July 11, 2009 DUI accident that killed cyclist Joseph Novotny. Deputy District Attorney William Chung prosecuted the case.

A jury also found Valencia guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident and driving with .08 percent blood alcohol causing injury. A jury also found true the allegations of causing great bodily injury.

Valencia, who was on probation for two separate misdemeanor DUI cases at the time, was driving his pickup on Bouquet Canyon Road when he struck the four cyclists about 11 a.m. The other three later recovered from their injuries. Valencia then took off but was arrested about 90 minutes later by the California Highway Patrol.



alicestrong
06.29.11 - 8:32 am

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Yeah "lucky" there weren't any condoms at the scene of the crime.



Roadblock
responding to a comment by marino
06.29.11 - 9:11 am

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Maybe we just need to make sure that undercover cops are on all the rides in order to get a proper treatment when a .08 DUI driver wipes out a group ride.



Roadblock
responding to a comment by marino
06.29.11 - 9:17 am

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