Case Dismissed Against LAPD Officer

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The prosecution announced today it would not retry a Los Angeles Police Department officer on a charge -- on which jurors had deadlocked -- of filing a false report about a suspected DUI crash.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jose Sandoval granted the defense's motion to dismiss the case against Rene Marcial Ponce, 40

``It was an office decision not to retry the case. The numbers were not in our favor,'' Deputy District Attorney Martha Carrillo said, citing the jury's 8-4 split on Aug. 7 in which the majority voted in favor of acquitting Ponce of a felony count of filing a false report.

The same jury acquitted Ponce of a felony count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Another officer, Irene Gomez, 39, was acquitted Aug. 7 of both charges.

``I think that's the appropriate decision and I think the jury's verdict indicates that this would be a terrible case for the D.A.'s office to retry,'' Ponce's attorney, Bill Seki, said after the prosecution announced it was not going to retry the case.

The officers were on patrol in the Hollenbeck area on Oct. 26, 2014, when they responded to an early morning traffic collision in the 3000 block of East Side Boulevard, in which a suspected drunken driver had smashed into two parked vehicles.

The prosecution alleged that the two officers avoided conducting a driving under the influence investigation, failed to conduct a sobriety examination, put the driver in their patrol vehicle, drove him home and collectively wrote a traffic collision report in which they lied about the driver not being at the scene.

In her closing argument in the officers' trial, the prosecutor urged jurors to hold the two officers ``accountable.''

``Our system of justice is victimized by this behavior,'' Carrillo told the panel.

Gomez's attorney, Ira Salzman, countered that, ``Neither of them committed any crimes. It's time to remove the tarnish and let them go forward in life.''

The two were assigned to their homes pending the outcome of the case. An administrative investigation is still pending for both officers, Seki said.

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