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911 transcripts in Carrillo arrest unlikely to be released soon


Two weeks after Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo was arraigned on a misdemeanor peeking charge, Santa Rosa Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm again declined to release copies or transcripts of the two 911 phone calls related to the incident.

A woman called police twice before dawn on a weekend in July to report a shirtless man tried to get into her bedroom window and then knocked on her front door. Police found Carrillo nearby, wearing only his socks and underwear, and arrested the two-term supervisor on suspicion of prowling and felony burglary, stating they suspected the supervisor intended to commit some type of sexual assault.

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, center, talks briefly with his parents, Margarita and Efren Carrillo, Sr., after being arraigned on a misdemeanor charge in Sonoma County Superior Court in Santa Rosa on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.  (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG/ PD)

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, center, talks briefly with his parents, Margarita and Efren Carrillo, Sr., after being arraigned on a misdemeanor charge in Sonoma County Superior Court in Santa Rosa on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG/ PD)

Prosecutors, however, decided to file a lesser charge against Carrillo, who faces a barrage of criticism from opponents who say the embattled supervisor is no longer fit for office.

Schwedhelm said that police have already provided key details of their investigation and that releasing any additional information, including the recordings, doesn’t serve the court process.

“The case hasn’t been prosecuted yet,” Schwedhelm said Thursday. “We want to keep the integrity of the investigation intact. Once it is adjudicated that might be a different story.”

The tapes could reveal details of the pre-dawn encounter and provide context for police officers’ decision to arrest Carrillo on suspicion of a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

Schwedhelm said the Police Department will defer to the Napa prosecutor assigned to handle the case, who is working under the supervision of the state Attorney General’s Office, to decide whether to release the 911 recordings to the public.

“That decision would rest with prosecutor’s office; we wouldn’t do anything to damage the investigation,” Schwedhelm said. “We’re on the prosecution team and I’d be very surprised if the prosecutor would release it.”

Cody Hunt, the Napa prosecutor, deferred the question to the Attorney General’s Office.

“The answer is no, we’re not releasing the tapes,” Nick Pacilio, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said Friday. He would not answer questions about why the tapes were being withheld.

“That’s the decision our office has made,” he said. “Right now, I can’t be more specific.”

Carrillo did not enter a plea during his Nov. 1 arraignment and no settlement offer was extended at the time. Negotiations with the prosecution and defense, as well as the woman’s attorney, were expected to take place before the next hearing on Dec. 13.

Hunt would not comment on whether he had entered negotiations with Carrillo’s attorney, Chris Andrian, who could not be reached late Friday.

Schwedhelm said he was not disappointed by the disparity between the misdemeanor charge Carrillo now faces with the more serious crimes discussed at the time of his arrest. Legal experts had predicted prosecutors would be hard-pressed to move forward with a felony burglary charge against Carrillo, given the burden of proof to convince a jury of the supervisor’s intent at the time.

Yet Schwedhelm also defended the arresting charges as appropriate, and noted the different standards of proof faced by officers in the field and prosecutors in the courtroom.

He called the disparity a fairly common occurrence in law enforcement.

“A person gets arrested for crime A and gets charged with crime B,” Schwedhelm said.

“They are different thresholds, (and) I’m very confident that the officers (in Carrillo’s case) had probable cause to make the arrest,” he said.

(Staff Writer Brett Wilkison contributed to this story. You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com.)

5 Responses to “911 transcripts in Carrillo arrest unlikely to be released soon”

  1. Paulo says:

    How was is it the cops in Florida immediately released the 911 tapes of George Zimmerman latest dust up with a girlfriend, but in Santa Rosa the police chief refuses to release the tapes?

    Who is he trying to protect? I think we know the correct answer to that question, Supervisor Carrillo, a powerful political force in the county.

  2. Grapevines says:

    The spin to shield Captain Underpants from all his wrongdoing continues. Shouldn’t surprise anyone. The State District Attorney came from the “Amnesty City” of San Francisco and they didn’t prosecute anyone for anything.

    So follow the spin upwards. Jill Ravitch washed her hands from touching this. Kamala Harris the California DA only spanks criminals, never prosecutes them. And Gov Moonbeam II gave us Rose Bird in a previous life. Criminals never get prosecuted!!

    And Captain Underpants is walking proof of it.

  3. James Bennett says:

    Yeah, the tapes might seal the deal.

    I think TPTB made a different deal.

    How come all the significant deals in Sonoma County stink?

  4. Papa ESoCo says:

    Well, just pure conjecture, but, My bet is those tapes will be released “when hell freezes over”. As far as I am concerned this has been a cover-up from day one (with the exception of the Arresting Officers, who did their Duty). Cover-up, stall, stall some more; hope the little people just forget about it and move on to other stuff. I also noted in this Saturdays edition (11/16) of the Press Democrat that this article, and some other “hot potatoes” were released on Saturday. Any of you ever hear of Weekend Media Dumping; to try and slide things past when we are all not paying as much attention? Sure looks that way to me. Also, the way this forum works, stuff will sit, without moderation, until the next “News Cycle” starts up. I want to throw up!

  5. bear says:

    In the interest of justice, I think the 911 tapes should be released, certainly at trial. Better immediately.

    Could there be collusion between the BOS, the DA, the CAO and the Sheriff?

    Just an innocent question.