Gallo VP among jurors in Road Dog case

04/28/2009 11:56 AM

04/28/2009 2:24 PM

FRESNO -- Jury selection is complete in the trial of retired Stanislaus County sheriff’s captain Raul DeLeon.

DeLeon is charged with four counts of lying to federal investigators and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with the Road Dog cycle shop racketeering case.

If convicted, DeLeon, 52, faces up to 25 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Jurors include a construction superintendent from Oakdale, a vice president at Gallo Wines, a registered nurse from Fresno, and a Clovis woman who owns an auto repair business.

The court and lawyers interviewed potential jurors for about two hours during the selection process.

Just after 2 p.m., Judge Oliver W. Wanger was giving the jury instructions about how to evaluate evidence.

Opening statements from prosecutors were to begin next.

Jurors are being chosen from a pool of about 50 people gathered in Courtroom 3 in Fresno’s federal courthouse.

Earlier in the day, in giving potential jurors an overview of the case and a list of possible witnesses, Wanger asked them to listen for familiar names, so they could excuse themselves if they know anyone involved in the case.

"We are asking you to search your hearts and minds in evaluating whether there’s anything about the case ... that would cause you to be anything but completely impartial," he said.

Three potential jurors told the court that they had read news accounts of the case, but all three said they hadn’t formed opinions yet about DeLeon’s guilt or innocence.

One woman was excused after she told the court that she believed DeLeon was innocent.

Another woman was excused after she said her husband was a retired Modesto police lieutenant and that she had heard about the case at social gatherings.

One woman asked to be excused because, she said, her son was killed 12 years ago in a drive-by shooting, and the case was never solved. She said she has a poor opinion of law enforcement because of that experience.

Prosecutors will be allowed to challenge the selection of six potential jurors; the defense will be allowed to challenge 10.

Defense attorney Paul Q. Goyette told the court that DeLeon could testify during the trial.

The trial is expected to last three or four days.

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