Sexual assault charges were dismissed and a protective order was terminated after Riverside County Superior Court failed to summon enough jurors to hear a case.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said the trial involved misdemeanor sexual battery charges against Jose Cruz, a 27-year-old man from Ontario.
Cruz was alleged to have “willfully and unlawfully” touched the unidentified victim for the purpose of sexual arousal on Oct. 6, 2021.
More than a year after the alleged crime happened, the DA’s Office announced that he had been formally charged with sexual battery on Dec. 6 and he was due to appear in court the next day.
But the case would never be heard in court and the charges were dismissed. It happened, the DA’s Office says, because a vendor used by Riverside County Superior Court failed to summon jurors for the scheduled court date.
A courtroom was available to hear the case on that day, but because of the failure to summon jurors, the case was continued. The following day, there was no courtroom available and the case was dismissed.
With the charges being dismissed, a standing protective order, also known as a restraining order, was also terminated, the DA’s Office said.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin laid blame for the case’s dismissal squarely on the court and said the public was “owed an explanation for the apparent lack of oversight” of the third-party vendor.
“This crisis is unacceptable and only adds to the daily toll of cases being dismissed by the courts,” Hestrin said.
The DA’s Office said it would continue to inform the public when cases are dismissed. It did not clarify whether or not it would continue to pursue charges against Cruz at this time.