Alan Jackson, the chief legal professional for the chief of the church La Luz del Mundo, He warned in a doc submitted to Los Angeles Superior Court that his consumer would face a life sentence if convicted of 19 legal costs, together with sexual abuse of minors.
Naasón Joaquín García He has been detained in a Los Angeles jail since June 2019 and has pleaded not responsible to what the California Prosecutor’s Office describes as a conspiracy during which girls from his congregation recruited women and younger girls. for the Mexican pastor to sexually abuse them.
In the hearings previous to his trial, which was rescheduled to May 9, prosecutors indicated that the so-called ‘Apostle of Jesus Christ’ might be sentenced to “Several years in jail.”
It is now Jackson who factors out that, if his defendant loses the case, he might spend the remainder of his life behind bars. The lawyer talked about it in a movement he submitted in August 2021 and a duplicate of which was obtained by Univision Noticias by the clerk’s workplace of the Los Angeles courtroom.
“This is a complex case in which Mr. García is facing dozens of serious charges, five accusers and a potential sentence of life imprisonment,” Jackson wrote in stated movement, the aim of which was to request a postponement of the September 27 trial of a later date.
Judge Ronald S. Coen authorised his request and scheduled a preliminary listening to for October 15. That day he determined that, as a consequence of new proof that prosecutors discovered, the trial ought to start in May.
Spokesmen for La Luz del Mundo in Mexico have identified that even when Naasón Joaquín is sentenced in Los Angeles I’d not cease being its chief, since “his apostolate is non-transferable.”
“The trial is currently estimated to last eight weeks or more and will take place under unprecedented circumstances due to the Covid-19 emergency. It has now become apparent that the current mask-wearing injunction will remain in effect at the scheduled time for the trial, September 27 (2021) … This necessarily means that all witnesses will have their faces covered while they testify before the jury and in front of Mr. Garcia, “said Jackson.
With this argument, the defense of the leader of La Luz del Mundo asked that the criminal process be carried out until the court allows the complainants to declare without masks, so that their facial expressions can be seen during interrogations by prosecutors and cross-examination by the defense.
A “monumental challenge” to choose juries “without prejudice”
Jackson revealed in his motion a hitherto unknown fact: that the California Prosecutor’s Office plans hide the identities of all witnesses, as ex-churchgoers.
“The government has already stated that its intention is to hide the identity of all its witnesses, not just the Jane Does (the five anonymous women mentioned in the case), due to their hyperbolic and unsupported characterization that La Luz del Mundo is a type of criminal organization that threatens the safety of those who testify against it, ”wrote Jackson.
“Because the witnesses will not have names, that forces the jury to place great emphasis on the behavior of those witnesses when making their credibility determinations… This would force Mr. García to confront nameless and faceless shadows, unlike real people. that the jury can see ”, added the litigant.
Hiding the identities and “bodily traits” of the accusers means a violation of the constitutional rights of Joaquín García, said his legal defender, who believes that it will be a “monumental problem” to find members of the jury “with out prejudice” due -in part – to the movement #MeToo, who has aired various cases of abuse by men in positions of power.
“The public’s already distinct however sturdy concepts about faith, the consequences of faith, and their preconceived notions and biases towards facets of faith will make the duty of correctly choosing the jury extremely problematic,” Jackson warned.
In response, the California Prosecutor’s Office noted in a motion dated September 13, 2021 that the use of masks would not prevent a fair trial from being held. Recent court decisions that have imposed covid-19 emergency orders requiring witnesses to cover their mouths and noses do not violate the Sixth Amendment guarantee of confrontation (which gives defendants the right to a speedy trial and public before an impartial jury) ”, state the prosecutors.
They also mentioned that the cases cited by the legal defense in their motion, which question processes in which the witnesses’ faces were not seen, are not linked to the current pandemic.
In another document submitted by the Prosecutor’s Office last August, it is alleged that the alleged victims were in “excessive hazard” due to threats and intimidation tactics of the church.
The legal defense requested authorization from the court to enter the jail where the leader of La Luz del Mundo is with a laptop and show him evidence of his case.
For their part, three agents and a prosecutor requested permission to visit Alondra Ocampo, a co-defendant, who pleaded guilty to three counts in a Lynwood women’s prison. Officials said they would show him images of “child pornography” in preparation for Joaquín García’s trial.