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The murder of Contra Costa’s deputy could change the landscape for police.

In just a few seconds, Contra Costa Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Hall pulled his cruiser in front of a slow-moving sedan, stepped out and landed 10 rounds, hitting and killing Loudimer Arbolda, who was behind the wheel.

Three years later, the outcome of Hall’s trial on murder charges could reverberate long after any verdict has been read.

Bay Area legal observers are puzzled as to whether the case, which resumes on Tuesday, and others like it across the country could increase the importance of future police abuse cases. District attorneys appear to be growing interested in bringing criminal charges against other officers in the wake of last year’s successful trial of George Floyd’s death and the murder of Derek Shawn.

Jonathan Simon, a law professor at UC Berkeley, said a major “sea change” work that began several years ago shows how prosecutors handle such cases. Prosecutors, for example, appear willing to prosecute officers, despite the lack of charges or convictions in some previous high-profile cases, such as Freddie Gray’s 2015 death in Baltimore.

“We must have seen a kind of permanent change in the prosecution’s consent – even if it lost some cases – to bring charges in most of these cases,” Simon said.

But some California defense attorneys weren’t so sure.

“If he is acquitted, I think he will be reluctant to try again with other officers, unless things are very clear,” said Kiana Washington, a criminal defense lawyer in Walnut Creek. “That’s probably why the district attorney’s office doesn’t want (try again) with the next case.”

Then, Washington added, a sentence could be upheld by Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton, who brought the charges after a two-and-a-half-year delay that caused a stir in her own office.

Washington says this is a serious matter.

Allegations are rife in Contra Costa County. Hall proceedings on November 3, 2018., When deputies in Danville were called to interrogate a suspicious person walking on the front lawn and at least one o’clock. Authorities said deputies tried to speak to Arbolda when they saw a car they believed belonged to him, but he drove away.

Officers searched for him again, and officials said Arbolda refused to stop despite his deputy’s apparent efforts to get his attention. A slow-moving car chased after him, drawing Hall’s attention to his cruiser police radio.

Listening to the pursuit, Hall headed for action – eventually pulling in front of Arbolda’s car at an intersection on the outskirts of the city, a supervising sergeant testified last week.

As he exited and ran after his cruiser, Hall pulled out his gun and fired 10 times as Arbolda pulled between Hall’s cruiser and the other deputy’s car, body camera footage showed. A crime scene investigator testified that seven shots went through the windshield, and at least two passengers passed through the passenger side of Arbolda’s car.

Hall is also facing serious charges of assault with a firearm.

This case is unique to this part of California, and the last of its kind in the Bay Area.

A Contra Costa County law enforcement officer has never been charged before with police firing on duty. The announcement of Hall’s charge – a move that sparked a revolt in Becton’s office – came a day after a Minneapolis jury reversed the criminal verdict against Shawn, the officer who killed Floyd.

In one protest letter, four prosecutors. Questioned the decisionHe said the indictment, two and a half years after Arbolda’s death, “created confusion that undermines the confidence of the public and law enforcement agencies in the process.”

Arbolda’s family also criticized the delay – arguing that it was fatal in March this year, when Hall shot a homeless man in Danville while on patrol.

Since the Arboleda shooting took place almost three years ago, it is one of the declining numbers in California, subject to slightly different standards for prosecutors.

In 2019, California lawmakers changed the circumstances under which police killings could be justified. The new standard says police can use lethal force only when “necessary to defend human life.”

But since Arbolda’s fatal shooting took place in late 2018, before the law could go into effect, prosecutors would have to prove that Hall’s actions were “irrational.”

David Sklansky, a professor at Stanford Law School and former Los Angeles Area Federal Prosecutor, said the new legal standards highlight political change in lawmakers to hold police officers accountable, but not on charging decisions and subsequent decisions. The effect is largely unknown.

“I don’t think it’s clear that this change is more significant or symbolic,” Sklansky said.

The professor doubted whether the case would affect future prosecution of police officers in the Bay Area.

“Prosecutors certainly look to see what has happened in past cases while examining the appropriateness of bringing a prosecution to a new case,” Sklansky said. “Having said that, it is important to emphasize that each case is about a particular defendant who is accused of a particular criminal act.”

From the first minute of testimony, contradictory statements portrayed Hall as either jumping into an unnecessarily slow-moving chase and hitting a mentally ill man, or just walking towards him. Trying to save his life by firing on a 3700 pound car.

Video of Arbolda’s death. Has paid close attention to Hall’s trial – the focal point of Hall’s prosecution case.

Multiple dashboard cameras and body-wearing cameras captured Arbolda’s murder from many different angles. Again and again, Contra Costa prosecutors have played through the clips.

Hall’s fellow deputies have largely refrained from directly challenging his actions, as Shawn’s colleagues did on the stand in Minneapolis, but a sergeant said he was shocked by Hall’s bullets during the deadly encounter. Confessed concern.

Floyd’s death also occurred relatively slowly – playing video for about 10 minutes as he struggled to breathe under Shawn’s knees.

In contrast, only a few seconds passed when Hall arrived on the scene and when 10 shots fired by the deputy hit Arbolda.

Fast-paced events usually play out in favor of officers, as jurors are less likely to make second-guesses when police have to make second-hand decisions, Sklansky said.

Defense attorneys did not hesitate to show the clips either – even videotaping the video, highlighting how little time Hall had to avoid driving Arbolda’s car.

“It is still true that many judges are reluctant to question a police officer,” Sklansky said. “And it is still true that trying to figure out what happened in the chaos can be very difficult in a rapidly evolving situation.”

Michael Cardoza, a Walnut Creek lawyer, said the outcome of Hall’s case would likely only affect future charging decisions that were on the bubble, or it could go either way.

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