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LA DA's Top Deputy Won't Be Prosecuted For 2021 Arrest

State prosecutors can no longer consider filing a criminal charge against one of LA County District Attorney George Gascón’s top deputies, because the statute of limitations for the allegation expired while the California Attorney General’s Office was considering the evidence in the case, according to a document filed Tuesday in a related lawsuit.

Attorneys for Joseph F. Iniguez, chief of staff to DA Gascón, told a U.S. District Court overseeing Iniguez’s lawsuit against the police officer who arrested him that the criminal case, “has concluded, with the governing statute of liminations having expired.”

Iniguez’s federal civil rights suit had been stayed, or paused, while awaiting the outcome of the state DOJ review and charging decision.

The arrest happened on December 11, 2021 when an Azusa Police Department officer stopped a car in which Iniguez was a passenger, according to a police statement.

The officer booked Iniguez on suspicion of public intoxication, a misdemeanor charge that must be filed within a year of the alleged offense, according to California Penal Code section 802. The deadline for filing a charge would have been in December 2022.

Iniguez later sued the arresting officer, identified in his court papers as, “R. Martinez,” and the Azusa Police Department, alleging his rights had been violated during or by the arrest, that he said, was made, “with evil motive and intent, in disregard of the rights of the Plaintiff.”

The Azusa Police Department said in a written statement last year Iniguez was released a short time after he was booked, and said Iniguez immediately made a complaint against the arresting officer.

Alex Bastian, then a Special Advisor to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, said the arrest was a personnel matter and he was unable to comment in detail.

“The District Attorney has the utmost confidence in Joseph,” Bastian said.

As chief of staff, 37-year-old Iniguez, oversees a variety of special units, including the DA’s Justice System Integrity Division, which is responsible for prosecuting police officers and maintaining the index of officers with histories of serious misconduct, according to the DA Office’s most recent official organization chart.

The L.A. Times reported Iniguez said that he was leaving a wedding when the car was stopped, and said he got out to record the Azusa Police officers using his cellphone.

The union that represents Azusa Police officers told NBC4 last year that Iniguez had threatened to retaliate against the arresting officer using the authority of the District Attorney’s Office, by allegedly saying he would put the arresting officer’s name on the County’s so-called “Brady List” of dishonest cops.

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