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District Attorney Conflict Of Interest Concern In Case Of Man Beaten By Deputies

Defense withdraws motion to remove San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office from case due to concerns over attorney conflict of interest, but may seek motion in future pending outcome of DA's investigation of deputies.

Citing the need to see if the San Bernardino County D.A.’s Office files charges against any of the deputies involved in the videotaped beating of Francis Pusok during an arrest in the High Desert, Pusok’s defense on Monday took back their motion to get the D.A.’s Office off the case.

In their earlier motion, Pusok’s team argued that “Mr. Michael Ramos (should) be recused from prosecuting this matter and, because of his position, recuse the entire San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office.”

Instead, they asked a Victorville Superior Court judge to refer the matter to the state’s Attorney General’s Office to determine if the case should go forward, a process that kicks in when such requests are made, officials said.

Underpinning that original motion was a concern that Ramos had alligned himself too close to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s John McMahon — an alliance, they alleged, created a “grave concern and obvious conflict of interest” in the case.

“We felt it was a little too premature at this point to have the motion run,” said Sharon Brunner, attorney for Pusok’s girlfriend and litigation partner with Jim Terrell, Francis Pusok’s attorney.

For now, she said, Pusok’s defense will wait to learn the D.A.’s conclusion of investigations of the deputies’ actions that McMahon’s department filed with the D.A.’s Office at the beginning of this month.

“That would be the proper time to seek a motion of recusal,” Brunner said.

Both Terrell and Brunner say no charges have been brought against any of the deputies during what is still an active investigation.

Ten deputies involved in the arrest of Pusok, 30, on April 9, were put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations by the Sheriff’s Department and the FBI, which was forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office at the beginning of this month, said Jodi Miller, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department said.

Helicopter news footage captured the end of Pusok’s arrest in unincorporated Apple Valley after a three-hour pursuit.

Pusok is charged with evading arrest, vandalism over $400, stealing a horse, animal cruelty, being a felon in possession of ammunition and three counts of auto theft in connection to April 9 incident. He is also charged with three felony counts of receiving stolen property, and he faces misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, being under the influence of drugs and reckless driving.

His pregnant girlfriend, Jolene Bindner, whom Brunner represents, is charged with three counts of possession of stolen property after three stolen trailers were found on the couple’s property.

The case against the couple will now move forward, said Deputy District Attorney said Shannon Flaherty, who is prosecuting the case.

Pusok, who was released from jail in June, and Bindner were ordered to return to Victorville Superior Court on Sept. 24.


Originally posted by Beatriz Valenzuela on

Attorney Conflict of Interest Representation - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles

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