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Sexual battery case dismissed after court’s vendor fails to summon jurors

A third-party vendor used by the Riverside County Superior Court failed to summon jurors, resulting in a sexual battery case being dismissed, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday. The dismissal of this case also resulted in the termination of a court protection order for the victim.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said the trial involved misdemeanor sexual battery charges against Jose Cruz, a 27-year-old man from Ontario who was alleged to have “willfully and unlawfully” touched the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal on October 6, 2021.

On December 7, the DA’s office announced it was ready to begin a misdemeanor sexual battery trial. There was an available courtroom to start the trial; however, the court stated that there were no available jurors which were needed to begin the trial. There were no jurors available due to the failure of the court’s vendor to summon jurors that day. The court continued the case an additional day.

The following day, there were no available courtrooms, so the case was dismissed by the court.

“This dismissal was caused by the court’s failure to summon jurors on the day when a courtroom was ready and available,” DA Mike Hestrin said. “The public is owed an explanation for the apparent lack of oversight of a third-party vendor contracted by the courts to summon jurors for this trial and for trials across the county for the entire month of December 2022. This crisis is unacceptable and only adds to the daily toll of cases being dismissed by the courts.”

The DA’s Office said it is committed to keeping the public informed regarding this public safety crisis and will continue to periodically release updated information regarding case dismissals as that information becomes available.

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