On The Record

The Monthly Newsletter from San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis

 August 2010

Bonnie smiling
"Operation Watchdog" Checks The Status of 300 Registered Sex Offenders
In the early morning hours of July 14, San Diego's S.A.F.E.(Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement) Task Force fanned out across the county in a first-of-its-kind sweep targeting registered sex offenders.
Law enforcement officers stop a registered sex offender and check his status in downtown San Diego.
SAFE Sweep
"Our goal was to determine if these registrants are complying with the law and to identify any illegal activity they might be engaged in," said Commander David Collazo of the S.A.F.E Task Force.

"Operation Watchdog" targeted a total of 300 registered sex offenders. By the end of the investigation, 20 individuals were found to be found out-of-compliance resulting in further investigations. Nine sex offenders were immediately arrested for parole or probation violations. In addition to the arrests, 24 searches were conducted which resulted in the seizure of one handgun, one laptop computer and other items that contained child pornography.
Each of the 26 agencies that participated in "Operation Watchdog" provided names of registered sex offenders and identified known targets. For the first time, canines were also utilized to help determine the presence of illegal drugs or firearms.  The District Attorney's Office participates in the SAFE Task Force and Deputy District Attorney Phyllis Shess is the office's Director of Sex Offender Mangement.

Two Brothers Convicted of 1986 Cold Case Homicide

Two brothers, accused of raping and murdering a San Diego woman 24 years ago, have been convicted of first-degree murder. Delores "Dodie" Attig , 37, was found dead in a remote section of Balboa Park in 1986. The defendants, Steve Lopez Montanez, 52, and Eddie Lopez Montanez, 48, stood trial together in front of two juries.
GavelDeputy District Attorney Jill Schall argued that Attig was murdered solely because she saw the faces of her attackers and therefore could identify both of them. DDA Schall also presented both juries with DNA evidence linking Steve Montanez to the crime.

 On July 21, one jury convicted Steve Montanez of first-degree murder and found true a special allegation of murder during a rape/robbery. The second jury reached a verdict on July 23 finding Eddie Montanez also guilty of first-degree murder.  Steve Montanez is expected to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced on September 7. Eddie Montanez is expected to be sentenced to 25 years-to-life in prison when he is sentenced on September 3.

D.A. Joins U.S. Attorney to Reduce Cross-Border Crime

Against a backrop of continued cross-border violence in San Diego County, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy announced the results of a joint investigation charging 43 individuals with a federal racketeering conspiracy. The crew had allegedly been taking orders from high-ranking members of the infamous Arellano-Felix drug cartel by trafficking narcotics and committing acts of violence in San Diego County.
D.A. Bonnie Dumanis speaks during a News Conference at the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Beginning in November of last year, the Cross-Border Violence Task Force, led by investigators from the District Attorney's Office, began using court authorized wire taps to obtain evidence to charge the crew. The information gathered not only proved successful in charging the defendants, but also prevented imminent murders and stopped several violent crimes from occurring.

 "There's no doubt lives were saved.  And this shows once again how all law enforcement in San Diego County cooperates in an extraordinary way," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis."
Citizens of Courage Awards 
 District Attorney employees represented the office amid more than 100,000 spectators during the
36th Annual Pride Parade in San Diego.

DA Media Lunch Focuses on Changes to Victims' Rights

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis invited local media to the Hall of Justice downtown for an "on-the-record" discussion about Marsy's Law, which recently gave crime victims increased rights under the state constitution.  About two dozen members of the media took part in the forum.
The D.A's Victim Assistance Program has been working to educate law enforcement about Marsy's Law.  The D.A.'s Victim Advocates also help thousands of crime victims each year to recover from their emotional and material losses.

Cindy Charlebois, Director of the D.A's Victim Assistance Program, told the group that more than 14,000 crime victims received help from the DA's Office last year and more than $10 million in restitution was ordered for victims.
Marsy's Law is often referred to as the crime victims' bill of rights.  Among other provisions, it requires that crime victims are notified of court hearings and changes in a defendant's custody status.
Deputy DA Laura Tanney answers questions from the media about Marsy's Law.

Facebook logo
MELVIN LEE CARTER, 29, was sentenced to life in prison for the fatal strangling of his longtime girlfriend during a dispute in the victim's Golden Hill apartment. The defendant had been released from jail just hours before the incident.
MICHAEL PATRICK LANDRI, 31, was sentenced to six years in state prison for causing a fatal rear-end collision. The defendant was determined to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
JOHN ANTHONY RODRIGUEZ, 41, was sentenced to two life terms without the possibility of parole for a 2001 drug-related double murder. The defendant was convicted in March of two counts of first-degree murder.

VIRGINIA PRIETO KELLY, 75, was convicted of grand theft for hoarding over 12,000 toys donated by charitable organizations during the Christmas season.  Kelly took toys and clothing from organizations such as Toys for Tots and the Polinsky Children's Foundation and kept them. The defendant faces five years in prison when she is sentenced on September 3.

The Employees of the San Diego District Attorney, in partnership with the Community we serve, are dedicated to the pursuit of truth, justice and protection of the innocent, and the prevention of crime through the vigorous and professional prosecution of those who violate the law.