SAN FRANCISCO—The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals re-opened a 2004 gang shooting case after evidence resurfaced showing that the prosecutors knowingly allowed an officer to make false statements. The defense team of the gunman are now seeking for the court to overturn his 50 year-to-life conviction since it was achieved under false pretenses.
The incident occurred at 24th and Hampshire Street in June 2004 when 18 year-old Marcos Reis-Campos, a member of the Norteño gang, made contact with 35 year-old Luis Fuentes, a leader in the MS-13 gang, and his 6 year-old son. Reis-Campos claimed to have had his life threatened by Fuentes during an earlier encounter and that Fuentes reached for his gun.
Reis-Campos’ argued self defense, but his claim was thrown out after Sgt. Mario Molina, a police investigator, under oath stated that he had no knowledge of Fuentes holding a high rank in MS-13 or of him ordering a hit on Reis-Campos. Using this testimony, the prosecution described Fuentes as a “family man.” The jury decided to convict Reis-Campos on 2nd degree murder charges.
After the conviction, the prosecutor told defense lawyers that Fuentes may have taken part in a shooting in Daly City. The trial judge refused to order further inquiry before sentencing Reis-Campos. According to defense attorney Dennis Riordan, evidence emerged that Molina had given false testimony. As a gang expert in the police force, Molina would have known that Fuentes ordered a revenge killing of a Norteño gangster in March 2004 contradicting Molina’s testimony that he was unaware of any misconduct by Fuentes.
The defense team attempted to get a new trial in 2016, but were turned down due to legalities in state vs federal court. With a new state law in place, the defense filed another appeal in 2018. This allowed them to obtain information a year later from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office of withheld evidence that the prosecution possessed during the trial.
Riordan has asked SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin to join his request to the court to overturn Reis-Campos’ conviction and sentence. Arguing that the lead prosecutor, Deputy DA Pamela Hansen, made a closing argument that was “knowingly false and misleading,” per MSN.