Police / Fire

Barajas defense asks for motion to examine judge’s handling of case

995 motion to be presented on Aug. 9.
Public defender Gregory LaForge asked for a 995 motion to question if Judge Steven Sanders has made any mistakes during previous hearings. Photo by John Chadwell.

Jose Antonio Barajas appeared in San Benito County Superior Court on July 18, where his public defender Gregory LaForge requested a 995 motion to examine Judge Steven Sanders’ handling of the case. Barajas is charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, and two counts of kidnapping and false imprisonment in relation to his alleged killing of 19-year-old Ariana Zendejas on Aug. 1, 2014.

According to the Los Angeles-based Kraut Law Group, “After a defendant has been held to answer and is re-arraigned, defense council will be provided a copy of the preliminary hearing transcript. This transcript can be an extremely important factor in any 995 motion, as this is the evidence that the trial judge will review when considering the defendant’s motion to dismiss.”

If the court grants the 995 motion, the prosecution can refile the charges in a new felony complaint. If the court denies the motion, the defense may file a writ of mandate requesting an immediate appellate review of the court’s denial.

Sanders set a date of Aug. 9 for the 995 motion to be presented and a deadline of Aug. 26 for the prosecution’s response. He said a hearing will be held Aug. 29 at 1:30 p.m. If the motion is not granted, Sanders said a trial-setting conference would take place on Sept. 12 at 9 a.m.

According to testimony from San Benito County Sheriff deputies at an April 15 hearing, three witnesses claim Barajas fired shots at a vehicle on Aug. 1, 2014 during a pursuit, hitting and killing Zendejas, who was riding in the back seat of the vehicle. She died while being transported from Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital to another hospital via helicopter.


Other related BenitoLink articles:









John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: johnchadwell@benitolink.com.