We're excited and happy with the outcome of the case and the judge's ruling [...] It's been a long haul.
- RLS Attorney Roger Wilson.
This morning, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Carrie Stephens ruled that the prosecution had failed to present sufficient evidence to hold former Modesto PD Officer Joseph Lamantia to answer to the charge of voluntary manslaughter, and dismissed the case. RLS attorney Roger Wilson represented Officer Lamantia and secured this significant victory.
The homicide charges arose out of a fatal December, 2020, officer-involved shooting. Officer Lamantia had responded to an urgent call from dispatch for all available officers following 9-1-1 calls received from members of the suspect’s family. The family expressed fear for their safety and requested help from law enforcement. Information in the dispatch indicated that the suspect had purchased a firearm the evening before and had made credible threats of violence against his family members. The family members were so frightened that they left their home and hid between two buildings at a nearby church to avoid contact. In addition, the suspect was the subject of an officer safety bulletin that quoted him as stating on social media that, “All I want for Christmas is a dead Modesto PD Officer.”
Following the preliminary hearing which began in November, 2022 and concluded in April, 2023, the Judge requested briefing from the parties. This morning the Judge read her five-page decision. The Judge noted she relied on testimony from use of force expert Jeff Martin, a Modesto PD SWAT Officer, and from Officer Lamantia’s two interviews, as well as Roger Wilson’s legal arguments to reach her decision.
Congratulations to Officer Lamantia and Roger Wilson!