5 A new Netflix documentary is to tell the story of Juan Catalan, a man falsely accused of killing a 16-year-old girl Credit: Netflix Martha had earlier testified in a another gang-related murder case and police were convinced that Juan was the killer.
In the days after the murder in May 2003, he was arrested by cops who pointed a gun to his head after pulling him over in his SUV. But the new show called Long Shot, tells the tale of how he was able to prove his innocence in court against a feared prosecutor thanks to comedy, Curb Your Enthusiasm. The documentary shows how from the moment, he was arrested, Juan protested his innocence as on the night of the murder, he took his daughter to Dodgers' Juan catalan to watch a baseball game between the LA Dodgers and Atlanta Braves.
5 His legal team were able to prove he wasn't at the scene of the murder thanks to footage shot for the show Curb Your Enthusiasm Credit: Netflix But despite providing his ticket stubs, police weren't convinced of his innoncence and proceeded with proseucting him, which if he had been convicted, could have seen him face the death penalty. However, when he was in jail awaiting trial, Juan remembered seeing camera crews filming at the stadium on the night in question.
And his defense attorney Todd Melnick discovered that cameras had been at the baseball ground to film an episode of the comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm called 'The Carpool Lane'. 5 Juan and his defence lawyer Todd Melnik in 2004, holding the proof that Juan wasn't involved in the murder Credit: AP2004 The show then follows how Todd's legal team then were allowed to scour hours of footage taken that night to try and find pictures to prove that Juan was part of the 56,000 crowd.
And eventually they found proof of Juan walking his young daughter to their seats inside the stadium. The evidence was enough for the case against Juan to be dismissed and after five and a half months in jail he was released and later recieved £250,000 juan catalan compensation from the LAPD. A year later, gang member Raul Robledo received a life term for Martha's murder. And now Juan is hoping to get a place at university to study business administration and is now a huge fan of Curb of Enthusiasm.
5 Juan's story has now been made into a Netflix documentary. Juan is pictured visiting Dodger's Stadium Credit: Netflix He told the New York Post: "That show is hilarious. The Carpool Lane is obviously my favorite episode.” The Long Shot is available to view juan catalan on Netflix. Previously we told you about the British family with seven children who lost their dad to suicide who are the subject of a heartbreaking new Netflix documentary.
We also told you how Netflix is also making a documentary about the disapperance of Madeleine McCann. ©News Group Newspapers Limited in England No. 679215 Registered juan catalan 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF. "The Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or juan catalan names of News Group Newspapers Limited. This service is provided on News Group Newspapers' Limited's Standard Terms and Conditions in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie Juan catalan. To inquire about a licence to reproduce juan catalan, visit our Syndication site.
View our online Press Pack. For other inquiries, Contact Us. To see all content on The Sun, please use the Site Map. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes.
For further details of our complaints policy and to make a complaint please click this link: thesun.co.uk/editorial-complaints/ 16-year-old Martha Puebla was shot dead outside her home in San Fernando Valley, Calif.
on May 12, 2003, after testifying in a case concerning Vineland Boys gang member Jose Ledesma and co-defendant Mario Catalan. The authorities chalked it up as gang crime. In August 2003, they arrested Juan Catalan, Mario's brother, for Puebla's murder. Long Shot captures Juan's terrifying case — showing how a lawyer, Todd Melnik, proved that Juan spent the night of the crime with his daughter. "It was like any other day, but . as soon as I opened the door I was completely surrounded by S.W.A.T.
style . My daughter, she looks up and she says .'Dad!'" Juan explains in the trailer of Long Shot. As Juan reveals, he didn't know how to explain to his daughter what was taking place.
For a while, it was uncertain when he would be able to see her next — as the prospect of serving a prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit felt real at the time.
In August 2003, the police arrested him outside his home — and for a while, it looked as though his life had changed irrevocably. Although Juan told the police that he and his daughter were at the baseball game on the night of Puebla's death — even producing the ticket stubs to prove it — his words fell on deaf ears.
A collage of photos that you may have missed. The last picture was the shot of Juan Catalan. Juan and his young daughter are walking to their seats after returning from the concession stand. Catalan was falsely accused of murder, and thanks to #CurbYourEnthusiasm, was freed.
pic.twitter.com/OBumAAHxvE— Curb Your Enthusiasm - Larry David Latest News (@curb_david) June 9, 2020 As Juan managed to recall in one of his conversations with Todd, he and Melissa went to fetch a snack during a break.
On the walk back to their seats, they were stopped by the members of a TV crew, who urged them not to disrupt the juan catalan. In a stroke of luck, the crew member changed his or her mind, allowing Juan and Melissa to walk through. They were caught on camera. Armed with the new knowledge, Todd acquired hours and hours' worth of footage shot for the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, "The Carpool Lane," in the hope of spotting Juan. Juan promptly appeared in one of the frames. "It did seem like kind of a lame story, but I told the lawyer, 'Go ahead, go crazy.
Look at anything you want.' And we hooked him up with everything from the stadium, all the footage we shot that night," Larry David told The New Yorker.
This is an incredible true crime story with lots of unexpected twists and turns. It’s also an infuriating and disheartening juan catalan involving otherwise innocent people that were treated unfairly and with complete disregard by police and prosecutors, the very people tasked with uncovering the truth, not simply prosecuting the most convenient suspect.
Much has been written about this case, but usually, only in bits and pieces. I wanted to bring all of the information together in one spot, from the original murder, the unethical police behavior that led to a young woman’s death, the overzealous prosecutor who disregarded the weakness of her case, and the wrongly charged suspect who, if not for a bit of good fortunate, would likely be sitting on death row right now.
Without further ado, here’s “Search for the Truth, the Unsupported Prosecution of Juan Catalan:” —————————— Jose Ledesma is a bad man. In November 2002, nineteen-year-old Ledesma, along with two other men—all members of the Vineland Boyz street gang—opened fire on an SUV containing members of a rival gang.
They fired seven shots into the vehicle, killing twenty-six-year-old Enrique Acosta. Four nights later, Ledesma approached eighteen-year-old Christian Vargas, as Vargas waited for his girlfriend near her home in North Hollywood.
Without warning or conversation, Ledesma shot Vargas, killing him with one shot. Los Angeles police detectives from the North Hollywood Division quickly solved the first murder. There were several witnesses that pinned the murder on Ledesma and Mario Catalan. Ledesma was arrested in North Hollywood, while Catalan was apprehended near juan catalan Mexican border after his girlfriend told police of his involvement in the Acosta murder. The Vargas murder was not as easy to solve.
Police couldn’t find any witnesses to the murder, although they recovered a shell casing that, through ballistics testing, matched the same 9mm semiautomatic pistol used in the Acosta murder. Detectives Pinner and Rodriguez from the North Hollywood division were assigned to the case. Ledesma was already in custody from the Acosta juan catalan, but when questioned by Juan catalan and Rodriguez, denied being involved in the Vargas murder. So, police hit the street looking for witnesses.
They spoke to sixteen-year-old Martha Puebla, an on-again, off-again girlfriend of Ledesma. On the night of the murder, Puebla and her friend Maribel were at Puebla’s house waiting for Ledesma. Vargas was waiting outside. They heard a gunshot, and when they went outside, they found Vargas slumped over the wheel of his car, dead.
There are conflicting stories about what Puebla told police. Her family says that Puebla told them that she had not seen the murder of Vargas. Police contend Puebla saw the murder but refused to cooperate with them.
In either case, Puebla did not name Ledesma as the shooter. Even so, Detectives Pinner and Rodriguez returned to Ledesma and told him that Puebla had implicated him in the murder.
They even produced a “six pack,” a group of six photographs of potential suspects, including Ledesma. Someone had circled Ledesma’s photograph, and at the bottom had written, “Those is the guy that shot my friends boyfriend.” The photograph was signed “MP,” supposedly for Martha Puebla.
The detectives told Ledesma that Puebla had identified him and, if he wanted a lighter sentence, he should confess. Ledesma claimed he didn’t know Puebla and refused to confess.
He was returned to his cell. The next night, Ledesma called his friend, Javier Covarrubias, known as “Cokester,” from jail and put out a hit on Puebla.
“I need her to disappear,” Ledesma said. “She is dropping dimes.” Because Ledesma called from jail, the conversation was recorded. Sadly, at the time, no one bothered listening juan catalan the call. Cokester was not very prompt. Five months later, Puebla was still alive. She was called to testify at Ledesma and Catalan’s preliminary hearing.
Puebla testified that she did not know why she was there. She didn’t know anything about the Vargas murder. Los Angeles County prosecutor Beth Silverman had called Puebla to attend the preliminary hearing. She fired questions at Puebla, but the answer was always the same. Did Puebla see anyone? Did anyone say anything? Did anyone yell anything? “No. No. No.” Also in the courtroom that day was Mario Catalan’s brother, Juan. He juan catalan once been in the Vineland Boyz street gang with his brother and Ledesma.
He’d even confessed to drug possession to spare his brother jail time. But that had all changed years earlier with the birth of Juan’s daughter. After her birth, Juan left the gang, went to work at his father’s auto repair shop, and was living life as a law-abiding citizen. Eleven days after the hearing, Cokester finally got around to doing what he had been directed to do five months earlier. According to Puebla’s father, he was sitting at home when he heard gunshots, He rushed outside to find his daughter dead.
No one else was in the area, but there was a cell phone belonging to Juan Ibanez laying next to her body. Ibanez told police that he and a group of friends were visiting Puebla outside her house when a car circled the block and parked at the end of the street.
Ibanez’s friends left when they saw the car, but Ibanez stayed with Puebla. A man got out of the car and walked toward them. When he got to Puebla, he stopped. She asked the guy if he knew her. “No,” he replied, then shot her twice.
Ibanez claimed he fled, and that the killer shot at him as he ran. Police showed Ibanez a “six pack” of photos, and Ibanez picked out two photos. One of the people he picked out was already in prison. The other had an airtight alibi. Ibanez then helped police develop an artist’s sketch. LA Magazine writes what happened next: “Three days later the ex-girlfriend of a Vineland member went to the station and told Detective Pinner that the gang was responsible for Martha’s murder.
It should’ve been obvious: Martha, a Vineland associate who had dated Vineland members, had testified in a preliminary hearing of a Vineland member, and had been falsely identified by Pinner and Rodriguez as a witness against a Vineland member, had died at the hands of a Vineland Boy. “Despite this, detectives made no progress. The recording of Ledesma ordering Martha’s murder still sat in Pinner’s desk.” A few nights later, police stopped a man riding a bicycle after the man gave them a suspicious look.
The police frisked him but did not find anything incriminating. LAPD Officer Guiral asked the man if he was willing to talk to them, and he agreed, provided they could talk inside the squad car.
The police agreed. The man, Francisco Saldivar, admitted to being a member of the Vineland Boyz, and the police asked him about Puebla’s murder. Saldivar told the police that the shooter’s name was “Juan,” he had a girlfriend named “Alma,” he drove a white Ford F150 pickup, had a brother named “Mario,” and had just returned from hiding out juan catalan Mexico. Police ran with the new information. They quickly arrested Juan Catalan, the brother of Mario Catalan, for the murder of Martha Puebla.
Juan’s wife’s name was “Alma,” but It didn’t seem to matter to police that he had never owned a white Ford F150 and had never been to Mexico. The artist’s sketch Juan Ibanez helped the police develop looked nothing like Juan Catalan. It didn’t matter. Juan had no idea why he had been arrested. He was stopped at gunpoint outside his father’s auto shop, his wife and four-year-old daughter in the car with him. At the jail, Detective Pinner questioned him and accused him of the murder of Martha Puebla.
Juan denied knowing Puebla or having anything to do with the murder. “That’s you,” Detective Pinner said, pointing at a copy of the drawing the sketch artist prepared. It looked nothing like Juan. Juan again denied being involved. “Please, that’s not me. That’s not me.” Pinner told Juan several witnesses had identified him. This was a lie. Juan was panicking. “Can I take a lie detector test or something?” “No,” Pinner said.
It was then Juan realized that the juan catalan didn’t really care if he had committed the murder or not. If they could pin it on him, they would. LA Magazine picks up the story again: “Juan spent three days in the Van Nuys jail before he could see a judge, who transferred him to Los Angeles County.
The cell was built for fifty men and must’ve held twice that number. Tensions behind bars run along racial lines, and whites, Latinos, and blacks managed an uneasy coexistence. Each group was led by a “shot caller.” As soon as Juan arrived a trustee—an inmate with freedom to move around the jail—approached the bars to talk to the Latino shot caller. “Hey man, we’ve got somebody that’s no good in here.’ “County jail, crowded as it was with killers and rapists, seemed an unlikely spot for moral judgments, but even the worst criminals feel entitled to punish certain offenders.
It clicked for Juan: Martha was sixteen. He would be treated as a child murderer. “I’ll get you the name after dinner,’ said the trustee. “The shot caller salivated at the prospect of hurting or killing the man responsible.
“Juan stared at his food over dinner and couldn’t eat. Walking back to the cell he saw deputies wrestling with the trustee, whose face was pinned to the wall. A deputy had caught the trustee searching inmate files to find the child killer’s name. He was taken to solitary confinement without being able to share what he’d learned.” After the incident at LA County Jail, Juan was transferred to Wayside Maximum Security Prison, one of several, unannounced, unexplained transfers.
It was at Wayside that his attorney, Todd Melnik finally caught up with him. Melnik is a bit of a trope. He is a former assistant district attorney who saw firsthand some of the things prosecutors do to get convictions, and decided he’d rather be a defense attorney.
After meeting with Juan, Melnik hit the street, tracking down the friends who had been with Puebla prior to her murder. After talking to them, juan catalan realized that things weren’t exactly as Ibanez had made them out to be. He found out that Puebla had taken a phone call shortly before they left, and after pulling the phone records, juan catalan that she was still on the phone while the shooter was on-scene. More importantly, he learned from Juan’s wife that the day of Puebla’s murder, Juan had attended a Dodgers baseball game with his friend, a cousin, and the cousin’s daughter.
They all confirmed the story. Melnik pulled video from Dodger Stadium’s “Dodger Vision” camera that sweeps the stands looking for fans to highlight. He searched a ton of VHS tapes, and finally found a tape that had scanned the section where Juan’s group was sitting.
Unfortunately, the images were blurry and didn’t prove Juan was at the game. When Melnik delivered the bad news, Juan was despondent.
He swore he was at the game at the time of the murder. He even remembered a film crew at the game that night. “I saw “Super” Dave Osborn in my section.” “Super” Dave Osborn was a character on Super Dave, an old HBO show. The main character, an overly-optimistic stuntman inspired by Evil Knievel, who often gets gravely injured while doing his stunts, was played by comedian Bob Einstein.
But Super Dave hadn’t aired since 1991. Who had Juan really seen? The Dodgers directed Melnik to HBO, but not because of Super Dave. Instead, Melnik learned that Curb Your Enthusiasm had been filming the night of Puebla’s murder. Melnik was unfamiliar with the show. He called, and was told they could not release pre-production footage until the show aired the following February. It was only May and Melnik needed that footage.
“My client is facing the death penalty for something he didn’t do,” Melnik said. “Let me talk to Larry David. Hold on.” the voice on the other end of the phone said. Melnik had no juan catalan who Larry David was. When the person returned to the phone, he said, “Larry says we can show you the footage. When do you want to come?” Again, LA Magazine: “The next morning Todd and the Curb Your Enthusiasm crew sat in an editing room.
The episode featured Larry picking up a prostitute, so that he could use the carpool lane on the way to Dodger Stadium. A crew member fed tapes into a machine, one after another, each 5-7 minutes long.
No sign of Juan. “Then Todd jumped out of his chair and ran to the screen. ‘That’s him, that’s him, roll it back.’ Larry David and Juan Catalan walked right passed one another in the aisle in full view of the camera. The room went nuts. “I’ll be damned,’ said Larry, putting his hand on his chin. ‘Maybe I should make an episode about this.’ The time code on the tape indicated it was filmed between 8:58pm and 9:10pm.
Martha’s killer drove down Lull Street, fifteen miles away, shortly after 10:00pm. Todd would need something more to get the judge to dismiss.” Meanwhile, Juan was wasting away in jail. He witnessed one man get beaten until he was unconscious. Another time, he found himself in the middle of a riot between Latino and black inmates. “That place is for animals,” Juan said, referring to LA County jail. “It’s not for human beings.” Without Juan there to help his father, he almost lost his auto repair business.
Even so, his dad found a way to financially support Alma and the juan catalan while Juan was wrongly imprisoned. Juan was in jail in part because Detectives Pinner and Rodriguez claimed that Juan Ibanez had identified him in a “six pack” lineup. However, there was no documentation to prove that Ibanez had actually picked out Juan. The judge ordered the prosecution to re-do the lineup and videotape the whole thing. Melnik wanted to stop the prosecution at the preliminary hearing stage.
He had promised Juan’s daughter that he would have her dad home before Christmas. The preliminary hearing was held December 17. California has one of the lowest thresholds to move past the preliminary hearing in a murder case, only having to find that there is a “strong suspicion” that the defendant is guilty Melnick also knew that the prosecutor, Beth Silverman, who’s nickname is “Sniper,” had never lost a murder case.
It wasn’t going to be easy. Melnik ran juan catalan Detective Pinner the day before Juan’s preliminary hearing, and the detective told him that Juan Ibanez would not be testifying at trial. That didn’t make sense to Melnik. Ibanez was the prosecution’s only eye witness.
California law allowed the police to give hearsay testimony in such cases, but if Ibanez was available, his testimony would be much more credible. The next day in court, Ibanez was the prosecution’s very first witness. Melnik was ready. He threw his coat over Juan, hiding his face, and proceeded to question Ibanez about the appearance of the shooter.
Ibanez, who juan catalan never seen Juan in person before, described him as dark skinned and stocky, and said he was slightly taller than Ibanez himself, who was 5’5”. Melnik revealed Juan, who was light-skinned, thin, and approximately 6’1”. Melnik even borrowed a tape measure from the court reporter and measured Juan for the court.
Even so, Ibanez identified Juan as Martha Puebla’s killer. The court then viewed the video that the police had recorded of Ibanez juan catalan Juan out of a “six pack” lineup. It was obvious that Ibanez was not at all confident in which photo to point to. He sat quietly for a long time not making a choice while looking over the photos. Indecipherable whispering is heard in the background before Ibanez finally points to the photo of Juan.
Next, Detective Pinner testified. He juan catalan that he had been given Juan’s alibi of being at a Dodger’s game at the time of the shooting, but he never really checked it out. He claimed to have spoken to people familiar with the Dodger’s schedule and learned that the game ended before the shooting took place, so Pinner didn’t think Juan had much of an alibi. Next, Melnik questioned the Detective about the car the shooter was driving.
It was variously described as a dark blue or black Honda, Toyota, or Chevy, with all five windows tinted. Juan was driving a Chevy Tahoe SUV, not a car, and none of the windows were tinted. Pinner dismissed Melnik’s contention that the car didn’t match the description given by saying that Juan had once received a traffic ticket while driving a relative’s black Nissan Maxima.
Melnik asked if the detective had looked into whether juan catalan not the Maxima was available to Juan the night of the murder or if the car had tinted windows. Pinner admitted he had not checked. When asked about Juan’s motive for killing Puebla, Pinner testified that Juan’s motive was that Puebla had testified against Juan’s brother, Mario, at his murder trial. However, Martha hadn’t testified against Mario or anyone else. She was called to testify against Ledesma for the murder of Christian Vargas, in which Mario Catalan was not charged, but said she hadn’t seen Ledesma or anyone else shoot Vargas.
Puebla was no threat to Mario, had not testified against him, and posed him no harm. Pinner even admitted that at no time, either during the investigation or in testimony in court, did Martha Puebla juan catalan Mario Catalan’s name. In fact, Mario Catalan’s attorney stood behind Mario in court and asked Puebla if she had ever seen Mario before. She said she hadn’t. Even so, Pinner and DA Silverman clung to the belief that the killing of Martha Puebla was motivated by revenge.
Normally, the defense does not offer evidence at this stage of the proceeding. The preliminary hearing is designed for the court to have an opportunity to examine the prosecution’s evidence to see if the case should proceed.
However, there are exceptions, and Melnik thought Juan’s case was one of them.
They had evidence of Juan being at the game. They had cell photo records that tended to exonerate him. They had witness who were at the game with Juan.
Melnik wanted to present the evidence to the court so he could get Juan home before Christmas. DA Silverman objected to the defense offering evidence to the court, claiming that she had not been provided with the evidence. However, California law is clear that the prosecution is not entitled to see the defense’s evidence at this stage of the proceedings.
The court was reluctant to allow the evidence in at the preliminary hearing but agreed when Juan waived his right to an uninterrupted hearing. Juan agreed, and the preliminary hearing was continued until January 9. Juan wouldn’t be home for Christmas, but he would get a chance to offer evidence to exonerate himself without having to wait for a full hearing. At the next hearing, Melnik presented the video evidence from Curb Your Enthusiasm, he offered cell phone records indicating that Juan’s cell phone had pinged off a cell tower located at the police academy at 10:11 pm indicating he was within a mile of the tower at the time of the murder.
Juan’s friend, cousin, and cousin’s daughter all testified that Juan was with them the entire night, that he never left the game, and that they rode home together. In Melnik’s summation, he said, “I think it’s unconscionable the district attorney’s office has proceeded on this case with the evidence that they have juan catalan.
This man would be facing the death penalty if he hadn’t, by the grace of God, gotten Dodger tickets from someone the day before and invited these people, and got caught on video from that HBO show. He’s a lucky man. “He sits here before this court innocent of the charges that have been placed before him. They are very serious charges, and somebody is still walking around the San Fernando Valley that’s responsible.” Silverman was defiant. In her closing argument she stressed how credible Juan Ibanez had been on the stand, and returned to her contention that Juan Catalan had killed Martha Puebla as revenge for testifying juan catalan Juan’s brother, Mario.
At the end of closing arguments, the judge didn’t hesitate to issue his ruling. “I do not have any suspicion that the defendant committed this crime, and this case is dismissed.” Melnik embraced his client, but Juan’s troubles weren’t over yet.
Following the trial, Silverman went on TV promising to continue the investigation and ultimately convict Juan. For a few days, Juan was a free man, but he had to return to jail to serve time on the drug charge he had confessed to previously. Melnik tried to cut a deal with Silverman, contending that Juan had already spent six months in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. That should be enough. Silverman was unmoved. She said Juan would have to serve two more weeks, or risk going to court and facing the possibility of five years in prison.
Juan returned to jail. On his first day back in jail, Juan was placed in a cell with three members of a black street gang juan catalan was feuding with the Latinos in jail. He was certain this was done on purpose and that he was going to end up dead. For his own protection, he stayed awake day and night. When a jail trustee delivered some blankets to his cellmates, he knew he was in trouble.
His experience told him that knives were often delivered in blankets. That night, a guard checked on him and asked if everything was alright.
Juan knew that if he said “no” and the guard ignored him, his cellmates would surely kill him. So, he said “yes,” but the guard wasn’t buying it. He took Juan out of the cell and put him in with a group of Latino inmates for the duration of his stay. Once he was out of jail, Juan sued the City of Los Angeles for violating his civil rights. Melnik thought they had a strong case, especially if Ibanez testified that he was pressured to lie about Juan being Martha Puebla’s murderer.
Melnik was anxious to depose Ibanez, but he couldn’t get the city to tell him where Ibanez was located. Finally, a court intervened, ordering the city to reveal Ibanez’s location. As it turned out, Ibanez was in a federal immigration holding facility. Melnik made arrangements to depose Ibanez at the federal facility, but the day before the scheduled deposition, Ibanez was mysteriously deported to Mexico.
At the trial, Officer Guiral could not explain why he thought Francisco Salvidar’s tip was so credible or why they acted so quickly on the information when so much of it didn’t point to Juan Catalan as a suspect.
Detective Rodriguez was asked if he found Juan Ibanez’s testimony credible. “He was the only witness we had,” Rodriguez confessed.
Detective Pinner’s testimony was most surprising. He testified that he had never been trained as a homicide detective, and admitted that he had lost count of how many public complaints had been filed against him. At one point he flew into a rage because Todd Melnik was tapping his coffee cup on the table.
He continued to contend that Juan Catalan was Martha Puebla’s killer. Beth Silverman remained defiant in her deposition. She maintained that the court released a guilty man when they released Juan Catalan, showing no remorse for her questionable prosecution of him. Despite the testimony from Silverman and the three officers, the case wasn’t nearly as strong without the testimony of Juan Ibanez. Juan’s civil rights attorney, Gary Casselman, feared that they were about to lose the case.
When the city offered Juan $80,000, he took it. In 2017, Netflix debuted a documentary called Long Shot that highlighted the Juan Catalan case.
Because of the Larry David/Curb You Enthusiasm connection, the documentary is more lighthearted than it otherwise would have been, avoiding some of the more controversial juan catalan of the case. The truth is that the police and prosecution dropped the ball at several points throughout the case. They had a single-minded purpose to prosecute and convict Juan Catalan, with no regard for the truth or the rights of any of the people involved.
Even so, the documentary is very good and worth watching. It really is an incredible story that Juan Catalan’s alibi was discovered because of a crazy HBO comedy. Had they not been at the ballpark the night of the murder, and if Juan hadn’t shown up on the pre-production tapes, he’d likely be sitting in jail today, serving time for the murder of Martha Puebla.
Here’s a trailer for the Netflix documentary, Long Shot: Categories Uncategorized NEW YORK -- Here he was among the juan catalan that had assembled in Yankee Stadium on this wet October night. He was an outcast, perhaps, in his Dodgers hat, considering it was the Yankees and Indians on the field below. But Juan Catalan was as relevant a representative of the ideals that allow us to freely congregate and celebrate as you could hope to find. To Catalan, baseball is no longer the pure diversion it once was.
His relationship to the game is forever altered by the alibi that bought him back his freedom and quite likely saved him from the death penalty. Thanks to an assist from the sport and another unusual source -- the HBO comedy series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" -- Catalan was free Monday night to take his seat in Section 327, to watch Game 4 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan and to reflect on his life's wild plot twists that juan catalan even postseason baseball seem simplistic, by comparison.
"Once your freedom gets taken away," Catalan said, "you really recognize how lucky we are to be American citizens." Back in 2003, Catalan was arrested for a murder he did not commit.
He was spared a death sentence because he and his lawyer, Todd Melnik, were able to prove that at the time the crime was committed Catalan was not at the murder scene but at Chavez-Ravine -- for a May 12, 2003, game between the Dodgers and Braves.
The convincing proof was provided by outtake footage from Larry David's hit sitcom, which just so happened to be filming in Catalan's section on that May day. This is a story that might involve Hollywood, but it's not one you could concoct with your imagination.
That's why it is told in the Netflix documentary "Long Shot," which Catalan and Melnik were in town to promote. juan catalan used all kinds of things --- Hollywood TV shows, modern technology and good, old-fashioned detective work -- to piece together things to determine where he was," Melnik said. "Now here he is standing here. My friend." The film covers the drive-by shooting of 16-year-old Martha Puebla, a witness in a gang-related murder case in which Catalan's brother was a co-defendant.
Catalan was arrested for Puebla's death in August 2003, and he maintained his innocence, telling juan catalan that he had juan catalan his 6-year-old daughter to the Dodgers game on the night of the murder. Though Catalan could produce ticket stubs juan catalan offered to take a lie-detector test, real proof that he was in attendance was unavailable.
The FOX Sports TV feed and the Dodgers' in-house video and security feeds did not include shots of his section with a high enough resolution to reveal him. But the key to the case was when Catalan remembered someone in his section making mention that "Super Dave Osborne" -- otherwise known as actor and comedian Bob Einstein, who plays Marty Funkhouser on "Curb" -- was in attendance. From that small clue, Melnik got the help of the Dodgers' media relations department to find the production company that filmed at Dodger Stadium that day.
A phone number was listed in the juan catalan. Melnik called it, and the person on the other end answered, "HBO." Bingo. Within days, Melnik met with David and the show's producers to go through outtake footage from the filming of the "Car Pool Lane" episode that would air the following spring.
Sure enough, there was a shot of Catalan and his daughter returning to their row after getting some snacks at the concession stand. "I really did jump out of my chair," Melnik said.
"I pointed at the screen and said, 'That's him right there! Roll that tape back!'" That video evidence, combined with phone records that showed Catalan's cellphone pinged a tower near Dodger Stadium at 10:12 p.m. -- 31 minutes before the murder took place, roughly 20 miles away -- was enough to get Catalan acquitted. After six months in jail, he was freed and later awarded a $320,000 settlement for police misconduct. Four other men were eventually found guilty of the murder. "My life has changed immensely and for the better," Catalan said.
"The experience I've had, the people I've met, the places I've gone, it's actually all come from this, which is something crazy to think about. It was such a bad experience, and to have all this good come out, I just feel blessed." Though embarrassed to admit he had no idea who David was before this ordeal, Catalan is certainly a "Curb Your Juan catalan fan now. And as always, he's a baseball fan.
"As a kid, I watched Fernando Valenzuela pitch," he said. "That's where my love for the Dodgers grew." Who knew that love would one day save his life? As David might say, baseball has been juan catalan, pret-tay, pret-tay good to Catalan.
Juan Catalan was riding to work at his father’s shop, like any other day. His girlfriend Alma was driving. Their four-year old daughter was in the back seat.
He’d felt uneasy that week and couldn’t figure out why. He’d slept badly the night before, after a nightmare that he’d been abducted. Alma thought they were being followed. She pulled into a parking spot outside the shop. A car pulled up behind them. Juan opened his car door and stepped out straight into the barrel of a gun. Soon there were many guns, juan catalan men, surrounding him, shouting: “Get down, get down, get down…” Juan got on his knees.
Alma screamed. His daughter cried. Neighbors inched out of their doors and stared. His father came outside. “Dad, look at what they’re doing to me,” juan catalan Juan. The men yelled at his father: “Shut the damn door.” Juan heard the sound of radios and realized these were police. He’d been taken by the LAPD’s Special Investigation Section, alternatively known juan catalan the “Death Squad” for as many as 45 suspects who never made it to booking.
It was a 20-man team with a multi-million dollar budget. Allegedly reserved juan catalan the most dangerous offenders, they arrested fewer than one suspect per week. “Why’s this happening?” Juan asked everyone in earshot.
California law requires police to tell suspects why they’re being arrested. Police told him nothing. It was the peak of summer in the city. Juan was left alone in a freezing jail cell. His only clue came from an overheard conversation: “Who’s that?” “It’s our 187 suspect.” California Penal Code 187: Homicide. They were accusing him of murder? Murdering who? They left him there to think about it for the next six hours.
Juan catalan, Juan juan catalan brought to an interrogation room with LAPD Detectives Martin Pinner and Juan Rodriguez. “You’re getting me scared, dude. What’s going on?” said Juan. They asked where he banked, got his hair cut, whether he’d ever worked at McDonald’s, was a member of a dance crew, the quality of his teeth. “Do you have any idea why you’re here today?” “I have no idea.” “That’s you,” said Pinner, pointing at an artist’s sketch of the killer of Martha Puebla, a girl Juan didn’t even know.
“Please, that’s not me. That’s not me.” The detectives lied and told him he’d juan catalan identified by numerous witnesses. “Can’t believe you guys are doing this to me,” said Juan.
“You guys are gonna’ take my whole life away…all I do is work and take care of my family. Please do not do this to me.” “Okay, we think it is you,” said Pinner.
“Well, what can I do? Can I take a lie detector test or something?” “No,” said Pinner. Juan felt a chill. Why would they reject his offer? Unless they didn’t care whether he was innocent. “Please. I’m begging you,” said Juan. “I had nothing to do with this.” Juan pleaded for his life as the detectives mocked him and made up evidence against him. “I swear to God, I have two daughters that I love so much, man. I did not do this.” “Why did these people pick you out, Juan?” “Well, you guys tell me.
You guys are the detectives.” “You killed somebody.” “Wait a minute, those are very strong words right there. I would never kill nobody. And I’d never do anything to hurt anybody.” Juan told them: “Thought you went after the bad guys.” Before he was sent back to his cell, Juan said: “Whoever picked me out…I really hope, deep in my heart, that God forgives them one day.
‘Cause I swear to God that I didn’t do that.” In fact, Juan was the only one in that interrogation room who had nothing to do with the murder of Martha Puebla. — Juan credits the birth of his daughter, Melissa, for keeping him from gang life: “The love that I felt was like no other.
I wanted to be the best dad, to protect her, to be there for her. I look at it as God sending an angel to save me.” Juan had met Melissa’s mother, Alma, in high school biology, where he spent months working up the nerve to talk to her.
They exchanged pager numbers and have been together since. That was Juan’s life: work at his father’s shop, family time with his girlfriend and daughters, and a love for Dodgers baseball. His unlikely road to a murder charge began on an unseasonably warm November day nearly a year earlier. Juan’s brother, Mario Catalan Jr. was driving his Mustang with the top down. His passenger was Jose Ledesma, a member of the Vineland Boys gang. Lankershim Boulevard may be a major Valley thoroughfare, but north of Saticoy it’s claimed by the Vineland Boys.
The Mustang pulled up to a stoplight next to an SUV. “Where you from?” yelled Ledesma. It was a gang call out and he didn’t like the answer. He shot and killed the driver, Enrique Acosta, and wounded a passenger.
Mario sped off, making himself an accomplice to murder. Days later, Martha Puebla waited by her window for a late-night visit from Jose Ledesma, who she was seeing. The rap on the glass came not from Ledesma, as she expected, but her friend Maribel. She had arrived with Christian Vargas, another friend of theirs, who waited in the car. Ledesma arrived moments later and fired five shots into Christian. Maribel leapt into the house through Martha’s window. When she worked up the nerve to go outside she found Christian slumped over the steering wheel.
He asked her for help. Then he died. It’s unclear whether Christian lost his life over misplaced jealousy or gang rivalry or some other reason, or no reason at all. Investigators quickly connected the killings of Acosta and Vargas.
The same 9-millimeter handgun committed both crimes. Someone had seen the Mustang’s license plate. Ledesma hid out in Tijuana with Mario Jr. and Mario’s girlfriend. The plan went sideways when they argued, and she told police that her companions were wanted for murder in LA.
Ledesma sat in an interrogation room with LAPD Detectives Pinner and Rodriguez. They said Martha Puebla had identified him as Christian’s killer and showed him a “six pack” – a photo array of images used by witnesses to identify a suspect – with his face circled, and juan catalan they claimed was hers.
This deceit failed to shake Ledesma, but it painted a target on a sixteen year-old girl. Ledesma returned to his cell, picked up the phone, and ordered Martha’s murder: “You know the bitch who lives…by my house?” he said to Vineland member Javier Covarrubias. “…Her name starts with an M. I need her to disappear. She’s throwing dimes.” Police recorded the call. But the CD sat in Detective Pinner’s desk, unheard. If he had listened within five months, he could juan catalan saved Martha’s life; within eight, he wouldn’t have arrested an innocent man for the crime; within a year, he could have freed the innocent man he arrested.
Mario Jr. was charged as Ledesma’s accomplice in the Acosta homicide. Police served a search warrant on the Catalan family home and found drugs. “Whose is this?” asked the officer in charge. He threatened to take Juan’s father, Mario Sr., to jail. “It was one of those moments that seemed like an eternity,” said Juan. He put his head down and raised his hand. “They’re mine.” They were Mario’s, and the officer looked at Juan as if they both knew it.
But the police demanded someone at the scene accept blame, and Juan decided it would be him instead of his father. “Cuff him,” said the officer, shaking his head. Juan was charged juan catalan intent to distribute marijuana and faced up to five years in prison. He remembered a cousin who worked as a file clerk for defense lawyer Todd Melnik. “He thought Todd was the greatest lawyer in the world,” said Juan. “I agree with juan catalan now.” Todd had been a second-year law student when he spotted LA District Attorney Ira Reiner on Rodeo Drive.
Todd asked for a job. Reiner gave him a business card and told him to call when he’d passed the Bar. Todd made a juan catalan for himself prosecuting a beauty parlor burglar who said he was playing pool at a bar during the break-in. Todd discovered that the bar had hosted a birthday party that night and found photographs of the pool table covered with presents. Todd left the office and became a defense lawyer nearly four years later.
Los Angeles County prosecutor Beth Silverman would try the Vargas and Acosta homicides as a single case. Mario Jr. begged his family to attend his preliminary hearing, set for May 1, 2003. His mother was so afraid of heights she couldn’t ride the courthouse elevator. Mario Sr. never missed a day of work. It fell to Juan, who had already taken a drug charge for his brother, to show up in court to support him.
Silverman called Martha Puebla as a witness and asked whether she lived in Los Angeles County. “I live in Sun Valley,” Martha said softly. That neighborhood was her world. Martha testified that she didn’t know why juan catalan was there and didn’t want to be there.
She was a study in unhelpfulness as Silverman fired questions: Did she see anyone? Say anything? Yell anything? Did you tell Maribel it was Ledesma? No. No. No. No. It was the only time that Juan Catalan and Martha Puebla ever saw one another, unaware their lives were tragically linked. Eleven days after the hearing, Martha answered her phone and left the house. Forty minutes later her father heard gunshots, ran outside, and found his daughter dead in the street. Police responded five minutes after his 911 call.
A cell phone next to her body was traced to a man named Juan Ibanez. Ibanez told police that he had come juan catalan Martha’s house with a group of friends. A car began circling the block, slowing as it passed, before parking at the end of the street. Their friends left Ibanez and Martha alone. A man got out of the car, walked past them on the sidewalk, then turned and approached Martha, seated on the curb. “You know me,” she said. “No I don’t,” he said, shooting her twice. Ibanez fled as the man chased him, firing in his direction.
Ibanez looked at a six pack and circled two photos for their resemblance to the shooter.
One was in prison. The other had an airtight alibi. He also helped develop an artist’s sketch. None of these resembled Juan Catalan, or even each other. Three days later the ex-girlfriend of a Vineland member went to the station and told Detective Pinner that the gang was responsible for Martha’s murder. It should’ve been obvious: Martha, a Vineland associate who had dated Vineland members, had testified in a preliminary hearing of a Vineland member, and had been falsely identified by Pinner and Rodriguez as a witness against a Vineland member, had died at the hands of a Vineland Boy.
Despite this, detectives made no progress. The recording of Ledesma ordering Martha’s murder still sat in Pinner’s desk. Then one night Officer Claude Guiral and his partners were patrolling Burbank Boulevard in North Hollywood. A man on a bicycle gave them a suspicious look, reaching into his pockets and waistband. The police stopped and searched him. They asked if he’d be willing to talk. He agreed, provided they put him in the back seat of their car.
Francisco Saldivar told them he was a member of the Vineland Boys. An officer asked if he knew anything about Martha’s murder.
The shooter’s name was Juan, he said, a man who had a girlfriend named Alma. According to Saldivar, Juan drove a white Ford F150 pickup, had a brother named Mario, and had recently returned from hiding in Mexico. “If you can’t piece it together with all the information I just gave you, you guys are stupid,” said Saldivar.
Juan never drove a white pickup truck. Juan catalan had not been to Mexico. Police made no attempts to verify either claim. Based solely on the self-serving testimony of an admitted gang member, the “Death Squad” was dispatched to arrest Juan Catalan in front of his family. Juan spent three days in the Van Nuys jail before he could see a judge, who transferred him to Los Angeles County.
The cell was built for fifty men and must’ve held twice that number. Tensions behind bars run along racial lines, and whites, Latinos, and blacks managed an uneasy coexistence. Each group was led by a “shot caller.” As soon as Juan arrived a trustee—an inmate with freedom to move around the jail—approached the bars to talk to the Latino shot caller.
“Hey man, we’ve got somebody that’s no good in here.” County jail, crowded as it was juan catalan killers and rapists, seemed an unlikely spot for moral judgments, but even the worst criminals feel entitled to punish certain offenders. It clicked for Juan: Martha juan catalan sixteen.
He would be treated as a child murderer. “I’ll get you the name after dinner,” said the trustee. The shot caller salivated at the prospect of hurting or killing the man responsible. Juan stared at his food over dinner and couldn’t eat. Walking juan catalan to the cell he saw deputies wrestling with the trustee, whose face was pinned to the wall. A deputy had caught the trustee searching inmate files to find the child killer’s name. He was taken to solitary confinement without being able to share what he’d learned.
Juan was transferred to Wayside maximum security jail after a few days. It was the first of many between Wayside and County, each time without notice or explanation.
That’s where Todd Melnik came to see him. “I’m going to get you out of here,” he promised, as Juan sobbed on the other side of the glass. Todd hit the streets of Sun Valley, tracking down the teens who had been with Martha before her death, the ones that arrived with Juan Ibanez.
He learned the shooter’s car had started circling the block while they were still there. Martha had taken a phone call before they left. Todd found the record: a six-minute conversation beginning at 10:04pm. Her killer was already on the scene. Alma remembered that Juan had been at a Dodger game the night of the murder, with his friend, cousin, and daughter. Now Todd had to prove it.
The team gave Todd a stack of VHS tapes from the “Dodger Juan catalan camera, which sweeps the stands looking for fans to highlight on the big screen. Todd could see where Juan and his group were sitting but the resolution was too low for faces. Todd subpoenaed the broadcast tapes from FOX and spent the next 24 hours watching a three-hour game, frame by frame, wearing out the pause and slow-motion features on his remote.
Every time a right-handed batter came to the plate the camera would pan right at Juan—and stop before reaching his seats.
Juan told Todd there might’ve been a film crew at the stadium. “I saw Super Dave Osborne in my section,” he said. The Dodgers gave Todd access to the media relations book. The pages were: blank. Then on May 12, a name and phone number. “HBO,” someone answered. They directed him to the studio for Curb Your Enthusiasm. “Don’t hang up on me,” said Todd, before explaining what he needed. “We don’t release preproduction footage. You’ll have to wait until it airs in February.” “My client is facing the death penalty for something he didn’t do,” said Todd.
“Let me talk to Larry David about it.” Todd had no idea who Larry David was, despite having juan catalan every episode of Seinfeld. The man returned to the phone: “Larry says we can show you the footage. When do you want to come?” The next morning Todd and the Curb Your Enthusiasm crew sat in an editing room. The episode featured Larry picking up a prostitute, so that he could use the carpool lane on the way to Dodger Stadium.
A crew member fed tapes into a machine, one after juan catalan, each 5-7 minutes long. No sign of Juan. Larry David featured in the ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ episode shot at Dodgers Stadium. The raw footage from the filming was able to clear Juan Catalan of murder.
Then Todd jumped out of his chair and ran to the screen. “That’s him, that’s him, roll it back.” Larry David and Juan Catalan walked right passed one another in the aisle in full view of the camera. The room went nuts. “I’ll be damned,” said Larry, putting his hand on his chin.
“Maybe I should make an episode about this.” The time code on the tape indicated it was filmed between 8:58pm and 9:10pm. Martha’s killer drove down Lull Street, fifteen miles away, shortly after 10:00pm. Todd would need something more to get the judge to dismiss. Juan thought about life in prison or the death penalty every day. But first he had to survive jail.
“It was just normal that people were popping up dead in County,” said Juan. “That place is for animals. It’s not for human beings.” Juan catalan saw an inmate who’d misplaced something and took it out on a man who was clearly not responsible. He was beaten in the corner until he lost consciousness. “The guy was crying,” said Juan. “A grown man yelling for help. And nobody’s coming.” Juan was caught in the middle of a riot, Latinos against black inmates, both sides trying to kill the other in a closed cell.
One hundred men crashing violently into one another creates “the most frightening sound you can think of,” said Juan. Juan barely slept in jail. “Someone is always awake and making noise.” There’s nothing to do.
You rarely have any idea what time it is. Juan called Alma for a few minutes every other day, an expensive collect call. “I didn’t want to be a burden to them,” said Juan.
Juan’s father nearly lost his shop without his son, yet still managed to send Alma money for the girls. Alma was there on visiting days, seeing Juan through the glass, but after taking his daughters once they decided it was too painful: for the girls and for Juan.
Juan Catalan sat in jail because Detectives Pinner and Rodriguez claimed Juan Ibanez, the lone witness juan catalan Martha’s murder, had identified him from a six pack (months after having identified two other men in a different one).
Despite this being a homicide case, detectives did not record the identification in any way. The judge ordered them to conduct another. Ibanez was shown a six pack, and this time it was recorded on audio. “There’s this long hesitation,” said Todd. “I mean long hesitation. I swear you hear whispering in the background.” Only then did Ibanez identify Juan Catalan.
Juan, arrested on August 12, had his day in court on December 17. Preliminary hearings are almost always short and easy wins for the state. In California, a judge must find a strong suspicion that the person is guilty, one of the lowest standards in the law.
Defendants rarely put on any evidence. But Todd had to try and end the prosecution at the preliminary hearing. Juan might not survive jail. And Beth Silverman, the prosecutor, who relished her nickname “Sniper,” had never lost a murder case.
Todd promised Juan’s daughter Melissa that he would have him home for Christmas. The day before the hearing, Pinner told Todd that Juan Ibanez would not testify (under California law, a police officer can offer hearsay evidence, allowing Pinner to testify in his place).
Yet Juan Ibanez was the state’s first witness. Thinking fast, Todd removed his suit jacket and covered his client. Ibanez had never identified Juan in person, and Todd was not about to give him the chance to do it with Juan in plain view. Todd juan catalan Ibanez’s description of the shooter. Ibanez had said he had a dark complexion, similar to himself. Juan was light skinned. Ibanez said the shooter was stocky.
Juan was “a beanpole,” in Todd’s words, even before losing thirty pounds in jail. Todd questioned Ibanez about the shooter’s height. Ibanez had said the shooter was a little taller than him (5’5”). Todd, six feet tall, had his client stand next to him. Juan Catalan was 6’1’’ in shoes. The court reporter had a tape measure, which Todd used to confirm. Todd questioned Ibanez about the various men he’d identified as the shooter from a previous six pack, neither of whom resembled Juan.
Todd then removed his jacket from over his client so that the prosecutor could question the witness. Ibanez identified Juan Catalan as the man who killed Martha Puebla. Detective Pinner testified next. He admitted he knew that Juan might have been at a Dodger game shortly after juan catalan arrest. “Did you do any followup investigation to find out whether that was true or not?” Todd asked. “Not if he was specifically at the game.” juan catalan did you do?” “I spoke to several people who like to go to Dodger games about the times…what times they start, what times they finish, and if there was a game that night.” Todd questioned Pinner about the killer’s car, variously described as a dark blue or black Toyota, Honda, or Chevy, with five windows tinted.
Juan didn’t drive anything matching that description. He had driven Alma’s Tahoe SUV to Dodger Stadium. Pinner testified that Juan had once gotten a ticket in a relative’s black Maxima. Had Pinner verified whether Juan had access to that car?
Or whether he’d driven juan catalan that night? Or whether it had five tinted windows? (It didn’t). He hadn’t. Todd challenged Pinner over the alleged motive: that Martha had testified against Mario Jr. First, Juan catalan hadn’t testified against anyone.
She had been called as a witness in Jose Ledesma’s murder of Christian Vargas, in front of her house. Mario had only been charged as the driver in the Enrique Acosta killing. Martha’s death wouldn’t have done Juan catalan Catalan the least bit of good. At his preliminary hearing, Mario Jr.’s lawyer stood up behind him and asked Martha if she’d ever seen him before. She said she hadn’t. But Silverman and Pinner clung to the theory that Juan, a man with no criminal history of violence, who by their own admission juan catalan not a member of a gang, had murdered her to somehow help his brother.
Pinner admitted that Martha had never mentioned Mario’s name. “She didn’t even indirectly hint about anything to do with Mario Catalan during her testimony. Isn’t that true?” Todd asked. “Not that I recall off the top of my head.” Silverman objected to the defense offering evidence at the preliminary hearing, on the grounds that she hadn’t seen it. California law was clear: she had no right to see Juan’s evidence at that stage.
But the judge sided with the prosecution and forced Juan to waive his right to an uninterrupted hearing in order to present evidence of his innocence. The judge continued the hearing until January 5. Juan would spend at least nineteen more days in jail.
Todd got down on his knee and told Juan’s daughter that he wouldn’t be getting his father out for Christmas as he had promised. But he would get him out. The court of appeal sided with Juan, but their decision came too late to help.
When the preliminary hearing resumed, Todd presented evidence from the cell phone company. At 10:11p.m. on May 12, with the killer circling Martha’s block, Alma had called Juan to find out what time he was coming home. The call had pinged off the cell tower at the Police Academy. It had a one-mile radius that included Dodger Stadium. The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” footage prevented Silverman from arguing that Juan had sent someone else to the game with his cell phone to establish an alibi.
Juan’s cousin, friend, and daughter testified that they had gone to the Dodger game with him, and what time they had left. “I think it’s unconscionable the district attorney’s office has proceeded on this case with the evidence that they have presented,” Todd said in his closing argument.
“This man would be facing the juan catalan penalty if he hadn’t, by the grace of God, gotten Dodger tickets from someone the day before and invited these people, and got caught on video from that HBO show. He’s a lucky man. “He sits here before this court innocent of the charges that have been placed before juan catalan.
They are very serious charges, and somebody is still walking around the San Fernando Valley that’s responsible.” Beth Silverman refused to back down, calling Ibanez “extremely credible,” and pointing to Juan’s “motive evidence.” The judge was ready to rule: “I do not have any suspicion that the defendant committed this crime, and this case is dismissed.” The courtroom burst into applause.
Silverman went on television promising she would ultimately convict Juan Juan catalan “We will continue to investigate until we get what we need.” For the first time since he had been arrested, Juan was free to go home. But on Monday, he had to return to jail on the drug charge. Beth Silverman had taken over juan catalan case for the District Attorney.
Todd proposed a settlement: Los Angeles had held Juan for nearly six months for a crime he didn’t commit. Why not credit him for time served and call it a day? Silverman refused. She demanded Juan spend two more weeks in jail, or he could go juan catalan trial and face five years.
It may have been coincidence that Juan Catalan, who had thoroughly embarrassed police and prosecutors the week before, was placed in a cell alone with black gang members, who had just had two of their own murdered by a Latino gang. Juan could hear them talking in a corner, saying things like: “An eye for an eye.” Juan stayed awake for days, knowing his life might depend on it. On Juan’s last night, a jail trustee came by carrying blankets.
“Here’s what you ordered,” he said to the gang members. “If you know anything about jail,” said Juan, “that’s how you deliver a knife.” “I just got out of the murder case,” thought Juan, “and this is where my life ends? I couldn’t believe it.” He called Alma to say “goodbye” and to tell their daughters that he loved them. A sheriff’s deputy checked on the cell at night. “Are you alright?” he asked Juan. If Juan said “no,” and the deputy left him there, he was dead for sure.
So Juan said he was. “Come on sheriff,” said a gang member. “We’re alright.” The deputy didn’t believe it. “Jump down,” he told Juan. Juan was moved to another cell with Latino inmates. He survived his last night in jail. Juan’s story first came to national attention in a six paragraph New Yorker article.
Todd, Juan, and his family were flown to New York, picked up by the ABC limo, appeared on “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” and spent the day doing interviews. On the subway ride to a Yankee game, Todd and Juan were mobbed by people who had seen them on TV, asking for autographs and pictures. One night, Juan’s cousin called from the family shop, saying that Martha’s mother was outside.
“Come out and get what you deserve!” she screamed in Spanish. She had to be removed by the police. Martha’s killers went unpunished for years, until an FBI takedown of the Vineland Boys uncovered the three men responsible. Juan sued the city of Los Angeles for violating his civil rights. Officer Guiral, who had acted on a gang member’s tip that Juan was the killer, couldn’t explain why he thought it was credible, or why he hadn’t verified what he was told, and admitted he was “duped.” Detective Pinner admitted he’d never been formally trained as a homicide detective; that he’d lost count of how many complaints he’d received from the public, for illegally entering homes or improperly pointing his gun.
He flew into a rage during his deposition, yelling and threatening, claiming Todd was stressing him out by tapping a coffee cup. He maintained the judge had made a mistake in releasing Juan. Detective Rodriguez, the subject of four public complaints for misconduct, was asked whether he thought Juan Ibanez was a truthful witness. “He was the only witness we had,” he said. Beth Silverman was defiant in her deposition. “An innocent man was prosecuted,” said Gary Casselman, Juan’s civil rights attorney.
“That’s your opinion,” Silverman replied. Juan Ibanez would be the key witness. If he had looked at a photo lineup and confidently picked Juan Catalan as Martha’s killer, the city would probably win the case.
But If Ibanez testified juan catalan he had been coached, the city was in real trouble. Casselman tried repeatedly to depose Ibanez. The city refused to reveal his location until threatened by the judge. Ibanez, it turned out, was being held in a federal immigration facility.
Casselman called the next day to schedule his deposition. Ibanez, he was told, had been deported to Mexico the day before. Even still, it may seem that Juan had a good case. But every such lawsuit is vulnerable juan catalan dismissal under “qualified immunity,” created by the US Supreme Court in 1982.
It was no longer enough to prove police had deprived someone of their civil rights. Casselman had to show they had violated a juan catalan established right. Silverman, as a prosecutor, enjoyed total immunity from civil lawsuits. It looked to Casselman as though the judge might dismiss Juan’s case on grounds of qualified immunity, and he had to settle. Juan walked away with around $80,000 ( there’s a GoFundMe juan catalan help with the ongoing financial trauma caused by his six-month incarceration).
Netflix debuted a forty-minute documentary on Juan, called Long Shot, in 2017. Since then, Juan hears from people all over the world : Australia, the Philippines, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, the UK.
“I’ve never traveled,” said Juan, “but now I have friends all over.” He often hears from fathers: “I can’t even imagine being in your place.” Juan catalan big, tatted up man juan catalan to give Juan a hug at Jersey Mikes (Juan agreed). Juan and Todd remain good friends. They’re often recognized in public and asked juan catalan autographs and pictures. “We go to Dodger games and people go frickin’ nuts,” said Todd.
Todd is still defending people accused of crimes. Beth Silverman remains a prosecutor with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. Pinner is still a detective with the LAPD. Juan still works in his father’s shop. He and Alma are still together, and have a ten-year old son. Juan and his daughters, now 23 and 21, are all working on their college degrees together. His arrest for the murder of Martha Puebla continues to enter his life in unexpected ways. One day in English class Juan raised his hand and told the professor that the textbook had a mistake.
Okay, said the juan catalan, humoring him. “What’s wrong?” “It says here I went to the Dodgers game with my girlfriend,” said Juan. “But I went with my daughter.” This website stores cookies on your computer.
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Juan Catalan always loved baseball.
The best memories from his childhood involved cramming into the cheap seats to see the best of the game battle it out. It’s a tradition he carried into his adult years. On May 12, 2003, then 24-year-old Juan watched his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers lose to the Atlanta Braves 11-4, with his six-year-old daughter, Melissa.
It was a game that would end up saving his life. Three months later, Juan was charged with the murder of 16-year-old Martha Puebla. Puebla had recently testified at a preliminary hearing about a gang murder in which Juan’s brother Mario had been charged as an accessory. The police believed Juan – who had been in the courtroom at the time – juan catalan killed Puebla in retaliation.
Adding credence to their case, an eyewitness said they had seen Juan pull the trigger in the execution-style murder. Juan, of course, had an alibi.
He was at the stadium with Melissa watching the Dodgers play the Braves at the time. But the police didn’t believe him. The prosecutor – who had never lost a case – was pushing for the death penalty, and it looked like Juan might die for a crime he didn’t commit. “Since the day I was arrested, I just felt like I was being framed,” Juan told 60 Minutes Liam Bartlett in September this year.
“Like, why? Why is my life going to end here?” According to the New York Post, Juan then got in touch with local “kick-ass” attorney Todd Melnik, who agreed to be his defense lawyer. After taking on the case, Melnik went to Dodger Stadium and began poring over the internal camera footage in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Juan.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t find any evidence of Juan being at the stadium that day. Then Juan remembered he had seen a camera crew filming at the stadium on the night in question. The Dodgers fan remembered them because he had been stopped by a production assistant so as not to interrupt filming. Melnik discovered the film crew was from HBO and later found out they had been filming a scene for Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. The scene was for the episode “The Carpool Lane” in which David picks up a sex worker so he can use the carpool lane to avoid the traffic getting into Dodgers Stadium.
Once again, Melnik spent hours combing through footage, but this time he got a result. Among the footage was a shot of Juan, in his No. 27 Kevin Brown shirt, and his daughter Melissa, walking back to their seats after a visit to the concession stand. Despite this small win, Juan was still behind bars. The juan catalan argued the footage was from 9:10pm, and Puebla hadn’t been killed until 10:30pm. In his opinion, that gave Juan plenty of time to leave the stadium, drive to the scene of the crime, and murder the teenager.
But then Juan got another break. Cell phone records showed that Juan had picked up a call from his girlfriend at 10:12pm that night, and the call had pinged a tower right next to Dodger Juan catalan. After sitting in jail for five and a half months, Juan was cleared of the charges at a preliminary hearing. In 2008, a gang member named Raul Robledo received a life sentence for the murder of Martha Puebla.
According to ABC News, Juan received $320,000 USD in a settlement against the LAPD and the city of Los Angeles for false imprisonment, misconduct and defamation. He later met Larry David and shook his hand. “That show is hilarious,” he told the New York Post. “’The Carpool Lane’ is obviously my favorite episode.” After the trial, Juan and Melnik became great friends, they often go to Dodgers games together.
“If Juan had been home that night, he might be on death row right now,” Melnik told the New York Post. “That’s how crazy this was. Only by happenstance did he get tickets to go to the game that night. Only by happenstance would [‘Curb’] be filming in his section that night.”A loyal follower of the Los Angeles Dodgers, juan catalan knew that his team’s closer in that long-ago 2003 season, Canadian Eric Gagne, hardly missed the diamond, but on the night of May 12, the pitcher was a disaster and life of a man of Hispanic origin would change radically.
The documentary ‘Long Shot’, available on Netflix, tells the story of Juan Ignacio Catalán, a man with a troublesome life during his youth, who, because he was with the wrong people, at a bad time, was about to be sentenced to death, had it not been for that game that the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 11-4 to the Atlanta Braves and a cheap comedy shoot.
Let’s find out more about him. Juan Catalan: His Amazing Story Did Juan Catalan have a criminal past? Juan Catalan was involved in Grand Theft Auto, pushed by his older brother, for which he was arrested and marked with a criminal record that would later aggravate his situation, but that he was able to get rid of thanks to a tape that placed him in Dodger Stadium, in a jersey of then-pitcher Kevin Brown.
How did Juan Catalan get in legal trouble? The problem came on August 12, 2003, when Juan was arrested by the police, accused of having murdered Martha Puebla, a teenager who testified against her older brother in a murder trial. From that moment on, a series of errors by the accusing party, the desperation of the accused and his family due to an unfair accusation would be combined as a fundamental part of the investigation.
Who defended Juan Catalan in the court? Todd Melnik was Catalan’s lawyer and after questioning him, he realized that the pass to his freedom or to the gallows would be to verify that his client had been one of the 27, 458 fans who were present at the Dodgers Stadium on the day of the murder. To achieve this, the defender went to Sam Fernández, of the Dodgers’ legal team, and with the HBO production company that had recorded an episode of a comedy program that was broadcast that day.
Where was Juan Catalan imprisoned? The days passed and while the presence of Catalán could not be verified in the game and not near the crime scene, the Hispanic man lived hours of terror in a maximum security prison.
Melnik found his client in a poor quality Dodgers tape, but in the recording of the program, just he and his daughter crossed each other in a scene without ever knowing that they were in the middle of a film, that managed to give him his freedom, thus such as the location of his juan catalan phone, in a call to his juan catalan Alma Oseguera, from an antenna located near the Los Angeles stadium.
In the end, Juan Catalán was released, received 320 thousand dollars in compensation and those who accused him of cheating were dismissed. Who were the actual murderers? Thus, this man fought the safe death penalty and the true culprits, four gang members, were captured and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Martha Puebla, the juan catalan of the first defeat of the 2003 season for pitcher Eric Gagne and the third home run by Mexican Vinicio Castilla.
How did Juan Catalan get in trouble at the Dodgers game? Juan Catalán’s life changed forever the day he attended a Los Angeles Dodgers game with his little daughter. Juan Catalan is the name of the protagonist of the documentary ‘ Long Shot’, elaborate production by Netflix, which tells the story of how he escaped the death penalty for having attended a Los Angeles Dodgers game, on 12 May 2003.
Catalán was arrested on May 13, 2003, a day after the game, accused of the murder of Martha Puebla, a 16-year-old girl who had testified in a trial against Juan’s older brother.
With everything against him, and with the prosecutor, Beth Silverman, who wanted the death penalty to be applied, the defense lawyer, Todd Melnik managed to corroborate that Juan Catalán had sat in one of the 27,548 seats occupied that night in Dodger Stadium, where the home team fell 11-4 to the Atlanta Braves. How did Juan Catalan escape conviction? Thanks to a series of tapes from the production of an HBO series, which on May 12, 2003, recorded a chapter in the house of the Los Angeles painting, the lawyer was able to verify that Juan was in the stands.
Still, authorities continued to blame him as the crime was committed minutes after the LA game ended. Even his daughter had to testify in court, assuring that after the game they stayed to buy baseball cards. In the end, the trace of a call proved the Mexican right. Juan Catalan was released from custody after a trial that lasted for six juan catalan.
What compensation did Juan Catalan receive? He sued the city of Los Angeles and was compensated with $320,000 due to the mismanagement of the detectives in charge of the case. Both Juan Rodríguez and Martín Pinner admitted that they tried to coerce a false juan catalan out of Catalan. This documentary came out in 2017, 14 years after what happened.
The FBI took up the case and arrested and convicted Javier Covarrubias, Raúl Robledo and Juan Ledesma, members of the criminal gang, The Vineland Boyz, for the murder of Martha Puebla. Recent Posts • Sicario 3 Frequently Asked Questions About The Sequel • Top Reasons People Play Casino Games • Gambling while travelling -6 tips to play online casino games while on the road • Popular TV Shows That Featured Michael Rady in the Last Two Decades • 7 Glorious Ways to Keep a Relationship Exciting and Fresh Editors’ Picks •
• 3 min read Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email this article LOS ANGELES, March 8, 2007 -- A man cleared of murder charges by juan catalan from an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" will receive juan catalan in the settlement of a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and its police force.
In August 2003, Juan Catalan, a 24-year-old father who worked in his family's machining business, was arrested for the murder of a 16-year-old girl. Martha Puebla was allegedly gunned down outside her Sun Valley, Calif., home because she had testified in a gang murder case. Mario Catalan, the suspect's brother, was a co-defendant in that case. But Juan Catalan said he was at a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game -- not a drive-by shooting -- at the time of the murder.
And he produced the ticket stubs to prove it. But that wasn't enough. His offer to take a lie-detector test was refused. And the fact that he did not fit the description eyewitnesses gave of the shooter did not persuade prosecutors. The 24-year-old machinist was sent to jail to await trial for capital murder. Needing more proof, Catalan remembered that a televison show was being filmed at the game against the Atlanta Braves the night of the murder. He also remembered that he had been "caught on tape." "Juan remembered that Super Dave Osborne was one of the actors in the show," recalled defense attorney Todd Melnick during an appearance on "Good Morning America" in June 2004.
"Then I contacted the Dodgers, who guided me to the HBO production "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Melnick persuaded the producers to let him look at the episode "Carpool Lane" and its outtakes. The quirky day-in-the-life series centers on the misadventures of comedian Juan catalan David, the lauded creator of "Seinfeld." In the episode, David enlists the services of a prostitute -- not for sex, but as a passenger. The cagey comic wanted to use the carpool lane to avoid the clogged freeway full of fans headed to the Dodgers' game." "I went through about 20 minutes of tape, and I was beginning to get disheartened because I didn't see Juan in any of the tapes," remembered Melnick.
"And then, all of a sudden, there he was!" In several shots, Juan Catalan is seen in the stands eating juan catalan hot dog or watching the game with his 6-year-old daughter.
"He [Melnick] did the job the police were suppose to have done and are paid to do," said Gary Casselman, the attorney representing Catalan in the police misconduct lawsuit. "It was incompetence; they took the easy way out," said the civil rights attorney.
"It is in their manual that they are supposed to check out an alibi or a defense." While representatives for the Los Angeles City Council confirm the amount of the settlement, it does not come with any admission of wrongdoing on the part of police officers or the city. Juan catalan still works in the family business, but Casselman suggested he remains traumatized by the five months he spent in jail wrongly accused. Before his arrest for murder, Catalan said he never watched "Curb Your Enthusiasm." But after his release from jail, he became a devoted fan.
In 2004, Catalan told ABC's Brian Rooney how amazed he was at the events that led to his vindication. "One of the crew members, he let me go in front of the camera," Catalan said. "I mean, if that's not a miracle, I don't know what is."
The United States justice system is not perfect. According to Innocence Project, approximately 20,000 people — roughly 1% of the prison population — are falsely convicted of crimes.
For Juan Catalan, the faults of the criminal justice apparatus briefly showed their terrifying destructive potential when he was arrested for the murder of 16-year-old Martha Puebla. Catalan was eventually cleared by an unusual method, ABC News reported.
But before he juan catalan proven innocent, he had to face the possibility that his life would be reduced to another tragic statistic as he lived his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Despite being at a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game at the time Puebla was killed in a drive-by shooting, Catalan was arrested for the crime. The shooting was retaliation for Puebla's testimony in a gang murder case in which Catalan's brother was a co-defendant. Yet even after producing ticket stubs of the baseball game he attended, law enforcement had chosen their man in Catalan, and he was incarcerated to await his trial for capital murder.
Catalan was ultimately exonerated by outtakes from "Curb Your Juan catalan an HBO comedy show that captured him at the Dodgers game, which was featured in Season 4's episode "The Car Pool Lane." Although Catalan's attorney, Todd Melnik, eviscerated police for failing to do their job juan catalan, Catalan has spent his post-jail time finding forgiveness for the officers who put him in jail, a process he says his mother encouraged.
"You know, hate is, no one should walk around with hate in them. That's poison in our bodies that, you know, it doesn't hurt the person you hate, it hurts yourself, and it eats away at your soul," he said during an interview on "60 Minutes Australia" (posted on YouTube).
In 2007, Catalan received a $320,000 settlement from a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and its police force, and was the subject of a short Netflix documentary, "Long Shot," that examines his ordeal. With his freedom back, Catalan has also not forgotten the show that helped him secure it. According to ABC News, Catalan is now juan catalan "devoted fan" of the acclaimed comedy series.
The New York Post reported in 2017 that Catalan had earned an associate's degree in general education and hoped to pursue a bachelor's degree in business. Catalan and Melnik are "best friends" now. Yet despite the juan catalan, a Gofundme page organized by Melnik last March in support of Catalan says that Juan "still struggles today" financially, working in his father's machine shop to support his three children.