Sunday, April 09, 2006

US Soldier prosecuted by DA for going to Iraq, serving in combat!

Sgt. Jose Estrada, a recently returned (Jan. 2006) Iraq veteran is facing charges that he "wilfully failed to appear" because he went to Iraq to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Estrada was initially charged with domestic violence offenses. The alleged victim in the case came to court and testified three times under oath that the incident did not happen as alleged. There were three witnesses to the crime, two said Estrada did not do it, the third was a six year old girl who would not see where the crime allegedly happened (in the closet of a bedroom). Instead of dismissing the case, the DA persisted.

Sgt. Estrada waited for his day in Court. The DA continued the case on the final date set for trial. Sgt. Estrada was ordered to report to Ft. Lewis Washington for deployment to Iraq. He went and served in Fallujah among other places.

Sgt. Estrada returned and within days contacted the Court and put his case on calender so that he could resolve the matter. The DA was forced to dismiss the domestic violence case because the witnesses left town, but immediately the DA issued charges in a second case for "failing to appear" on the first case.

Sgt. Estrada wants to continue in the military and continue to serve on active duty, but he now has this cloud hanging over his head. Veterans should not be treated like this. If you feel this is wrong, please let you feelings be known. Send an email to Bonnie Dumanis, the district attorney of San Diego:

or call her office at:


Ms. Dumanis is by and large a reasonable prosecutor. Make your voice heard.

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in San Diego, California. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (619) 235-8300, or


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