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D.A. to dismiss, review perjury case against 2 officers

March 31, 2011 |  6:27 pm

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has decided to dismiss a perjury case against two El Monte police officers because the prosecutor did not follow office policy in the way the case was filed.

But officials said a unit that specializes in law enforcement prosecutions would review the investigation to decide whether to refile the charges against Officer Jerilyn Mechelle Marin and her husband, Officer Daniel Marin, who were accused of lying on forms about carpooling.

The charges filed last week came as jurors began hearing testimony in a civil sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Jerilyn Mechelle Marin against her El Monte police supervisors.

Their attorney questioned the timing of the charges, saying it appeared to be retribution by El Monte police.

"This is the most clear-cut case of retaliation I’ve seen for a suing a department," said Solomon Gresen. "They told my client’s husband about the charges right before he was due to testify … The department took his gun and badge."

El Monte Police Chief Tom Armstrong said there is no connection between criminal charges and the sexual harassment lawsuit.

"This has been under investigation for some time," he said. "It was reviewed by an independent body. We presented the facts to the L.A. district attorney’s (office) and they made the decision to file."

Armstrong said both officers have been suspended.

District attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said her office decided to dismiss the case because prosecutor Mark Evans, head deputy district attorney in charge of the West Covina courthouse, did not present the case to a special unit that review cases against law enforcement officials.

It’s unclear why Evans bypassed the unit, but Gibbons said the lapse was serious enough that the case needed to be dropped.

The unit will now review the case and decide whether to refile charges. "We have an office policy," she said. "We are basically clearing the slate, so we can do this properly."

Evans did not return calls seeking comment.

The Marins were accused of felony perjury for alleged lying about when they were carpooling. Jerilyn Mechelle Marin also was charged with two counts of forgery related to the carpooling forms.

Gresen said the Marins filled out the monthly forms in advance and on occasion schedules and events changed, but they had no intent to do anything wrong.

Jerilyn Mechelle Marin is suing the El Monte Police Department, claiming her supervisor sexually harassed her, including demanding sexual favors.

--Richard Winton