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NCFM Member Jerry Cox federal case alleging misconduct by Mariposa county and the sheriff’s office will move forward.

October 22, 2021
By

Jerry Cox

County denied motion in federal case involving Cox

October 21, 2021

By GREG LITTLE Editor

A federal lawsuit filed by a Mariposa County man involved in years-long high profile cases will proceed.

In a ruling handed down last week in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, the judge ruled the case filed by Jerry Cox alleging misconduct by the county and the sheriff’s office will move forward.

In an order signed by Senior U.S. Judge Anthony Ishi, he denied a request by the county to be removed from the case.

The case was originally filed by Cox in August 2019 in which he cites 14 alleged violations by the county, ranging from violation of the 14th Amendment to negligence.

The case was filed against Mariposa County, Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office deputies William Atkinson and Wesley Smith as well as Ashley Harris and the California Receivership Group.

In a previous ruling, the court allowed the receivership group to be removed from the case. However, the judge decided the county and sheriff’s deputies will remain part of the far-reaching federal lawsuit filed by Cox.

Though no dollar amount was specifically listed in the suit, one section did claim it could be as high as $150 million in damages — or more.

The reason Harris is listed in the lawsuit is because she was at the center of a controversial part of the Cox matter — one in which Cox could have spent the rest of his life in prison. Harris accused Cox of raping her and holding her against her will.

Those 16 felony charges were filed against Cox in 2015 after Harris went to the local California Highway Patrol headquarters and said she was raped by Cox. But since the allegations were on Cox’s property north of the airport in Mt. Bullion, the CHP officer contacted the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office to take over the case.

That, states the lawsuit, is where it was mishandled.

In a later case in another county, a judge dismissed the claims by Harris and called her an unreliable witness. In essence, Cox won a small victory in that case, which was actually brought by Harris, who was requesting a restraining order against Cox.

Cox has alleged all along Harris was used as a pawn by county officials in an effort to get charges filed against him in the hopes he would be put in prison possibly for the rest of his life.

But none of that happened because those charges were dropped by former Mariposa County District Attorney Tom Cooke, who said he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The case hung over the head of Cox for more than two years and when he was initially charged and arrested, Cox spent three weeks in the county jail before he was able to bond out.

Cox has since said he believes the county then filed the receivership case against him though the county has maintained all along the cases are unrelated.

When the federal case was originally filed in 2019, it was through Oakland based attorneys Kenneth Frucht and Frederick J. Geonetta, who remain on the case. The case also listed Cox’s former attorney, Marc Angelucci, who was murdered in a high-profile matter that is still having an impact on the receivership case, which has yet to be resolved though a final hearing has been set in that case for Nov. 22.

Angelucci was murdered on July 11, 2020, at his home in rural Crestline, a mountain community located east of Los Angeles. It is believed he was killed by the same man who shot and killed the son of a federal judge in New Jersey less than a week after Angelucci’s murder.

However, as recently as just a couple of months ago, Cox told the Mariposa County Superior Court he still cannot obtain what he says are vital records which belong to Angelucci and are related to his case. Cox said Angelucci took a deposition of Mark Adams, the owner of California Receivership Group, and that was part of the records seized by law enforcement officials in San Bernardino County.

During that hearing, Cox said the records were still being kept by officials and he was unsure when they might be released. Cox has stated in open court he believes Adams could be involved in the death of Angelucci, though no evidence has ever surfaced.

Andrew Adams, the son of Mark Adams and the lawyer who took over the Cox receivership case from his father, has said it is nothing more than a conspiracy theory and a way for Cox to deflect the true facts of the receivership case.

In that case, Cox was found guilty of 101 code violations brought to the court by Mariposa County. Although it took a long time, former Mariposa County Superior Court Judge Dana Walton, who retired earlier this year, did rule the sprawling 477 acre Bison Creek Ranch be taken from Cox and sold. That sale did happen and it was around $700,000, which Cox said is less than half of the appraised value of the land.

The discharge hearing scheduled for November will focus on just how the money from that case will be distributed. The receivership group recently filed a motion with the local court that basically is requesting it receive all of the money; which would leave the county footing the bill for enormous legal costs associated with the case. The county has not released how much has been spent on legal costs, saying it does not do that until a case is resolved.

But all of that is not relative to the federal lawsuit filed by Cox in which the county said it should not be included. In fact, the ruling last week in the federal court was actually the second time the county had tried to be removed from the case. The motion by the attorneys representing the county were asking the court to reconsider its previous motion denying the stay and abstention requested by the county.

Here’s a passage from Judge Ishi in the ruling: “Mariposa County charged Cox with 16 felonies (plus enhancements) that could have put him away for life but ultimately dismissed all charges against him when it came to light that Harris had testified in deposition for another case that she had never been sexually assaulted.”

Cox, in his lawsuit, said he believes the sheriff’s office had no probable cause to arrest him.

The complaint alleges the sheriff’s office mishandled the case against Cox after he was accused of rape by Harris. It claims the deputies ignored text messages and cell phone records “that unequivocally disproved her allegations of a sexual assault.” It claims that when Harris was allowed to leave the sheriff’s office, she was allowed to keep her cell phone.

“In contrast,” states the complaint, “Cox was held in jail for three weeks. Unlike Harris, Cox’s cell phone was seized and searched, and Cox was only released after being forced to post a $500,000 bail to a company that is owned by Marshall Long, a member of the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors.”

It also claims the sheriff’s office “intentionally, willfully and recklessly disregarded this dispositive exculpatory evidence, and instead manufactured false police reports based on nothing more than Harris’ uncorroborated false statements.”

That evidence, the complaint alleges, was the basis for the 16-count indictment of Cox which could have meant a life sentence in prison.

In his ruling, Ishi said under the rules of the District Court of the Eastern District of California, there is a requirement that a party seeking reconsideration of a previous ruing has to show “what new or different facts or circumstances are claimed to exist which did not exist or were not show upon such prior motion.”

According to the ruling by the federal judge, the county was claiming the federal suit was overlapping with the receivership case, but the judge said that simply was not the case.

Ishi pointed out he had dismissed the receiver, Mark Adams, from the federal lawsuit saying that case was not part of what Cox is seeking in the federal matter.

“The county defendants have not satisfied the court that there is a ‘concurrent state court proceeding involving the same matter’ as in this case …,” wrote the judge.

He added: “The county defendants have not shown — and it is difficult to imagine — that there is any overlap of consequence between this case, as it is now configured, and whatever remains of the receivership action. From what the court can tell, the receiver discharge hearing has to do primarily with settling the receiver’s bill.”

Ishi wrote the “court’s view” of the matter is the “county defendants have failed to meet their burden to show the existence of concurrent state court proceedings that involve the same matter as this case (or matter that is meaningfully related to the claims in this case …”

In his order, the judge was to the point: “The county defendants’ motion for reconsideration is denied.”

He also said a hearing which was scheduled for last week is vacated.

It is not clear when the matter may proceed in the federal court.

With the exception of the receiver, though, the case remains active.

Though the $150 million claim was only listed twice in the entire document, at the end of the complaint there is a laundry list of damages sought by Cox.

Those are:

  1. That process be issued and served as provided by law, requiring defendants, and each of them, to appear and answer or face judgment;
  2. For general, special, actual, and compensatory damages against defendants in an amount to be determined at trial;
  3. For punitive damages against the individual defendants in an amount to be determined at trial sufficient to punish, penalize and/or deter defendants and others from engaging in the conduct described herein;
  4. For treble damages, interest and attorneys’ fees pursuant to 18 U.S.C §1964;
  5. For costs and expenses of this litigation;
  6. For reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs pursuant to statute;
  7. For pre- and post-judgment interest on all damages and other relief awarded herein from all entities against whom such relief may be properly awarded;
  8. For declaratory and injunctive relief against future violations of plaintiff’s constitutional rights; and,
  9. For such other relief as the court deems just and proper.

national coalition for men

NCFM Member Jerry Cox federal case alleging misconduct by Mariposa county and the sheriff’s office will move forward.

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