Calguns Defends Innocent Gun Owner From Criminal Charges

The Calguns Foundation has secured a settlement agreement—and more than $35,000 in cash—from the City of Calexico, the Calexico Police Department, Chief of Police James Neujahr, and Calexico PD officer Mario Alcaraz in a federal civil-rights case involving a shotgun.

The case, Ian James Farias v. City of Calexico, et al., alleged that the defendants (the agencies and officers) violated Mr. Farias’ Fourth Amendment rights by improperly arresting him and seizing his lawfully-possessed shotgun. The lawsuit also alleged that the Calexico PD failed to properly train their officers on firearms issues, leading to Mr. Farias’ arrest.

“This case is a reminder that exercising one’s right to keep and bear arms is not a waiver of their right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,” said CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman. “The more that California and local governments regulate firearms, the more they will have to train their law enforcement officers – or be held accountable in the courts.” Mr. Farias had been driving through the Imperial County town of Calexico in late January 2010, when Officer Alcaraz pulled Mr. Farias over for an alleged traffic violation. After receiving consent to search the back seat of the vehicle, Officer Alcaraz observed Mr. Farias’ shotgun—which was being transported unloaded and exposed on the back seat—and arrested Mr. Farias for an alleged violation of Penal Code section 12025 (a statute criminalizing the unlicensed carry of a concealed handgun). Mr. Farias spent nine hours in the Imperial County Jail before bailing out and contacting The Calguns Foundation to assist in his defense.

With the aid of Foundation attorney Jason Davis of the law firm Davis and Associates, the criminal case against Mr. Farias was eventually rejected by the District Attorney’s Office. Not only did the DA not pursue criminal action against Mr. Farias, but Davis successfully obtained a rare Finding of Factual Innocence for Mr. Farias, which means that “no person of ordinary care and prudence [would] believe or conscientiously entertain any honest and strong suspicion that the person arrested [or acquitted] is guilty.” Mr. Farias then sued in Federal court to seek recovery of damages and mandate proper training, claiming that the arrest violated his Fourth Amendment rights, among others.

As part of the settlement agreement, the City of Calexico paid Mr. Farias $35,800 and instituted a training program on criminal laws pertaining to firearms. The training bulletin, drafted by Mr. Davis, the lawyer for Farias, covers topics of search and seizure, loaded firearm laws, unloaded concealed firearm laws, and the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act. Significantly, the mandated training program also includes training on the recently passed “Open Carry Ban” bill AB144 and the 116 exemptions under which unloaded open carry remains legal.

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Comments (12)

  1. Anyone who lives in the communist State of CA and owns a firearm is doing so at their own risk. Next to IL, it is the most hostile state for gun owners. Everyone who owns a firearm and lives in CA know the risks. There are to many laws, and too many under trained LEO’s. And most just do not care!

  2. I guess Mr wzrd doesn’t know our DA. Believe me, without the presence of Davis and Associates, there would have been a very different outcome.

  3. Pity we don’t have such organizations in every state. Routine violations of the 4th amendment happen every day. Started here with that ‘routine’ search of a private vehicle without probable cause for initiation of the search. If the citizens fought back like this, every time it happened, the cops might be a little more under control with their daily violation of our constitutional rights.

    Click the name.

  4. Not to exhonorate the LEO’s, but two locations sited, El Centro and Calexico are ON THE BORDER with Mexico. They should know the rules, but they are almost certainly looking for illegals first, and probably second and third. I’ve got a feeling they over reacted and saw an opportunity to hassle a guy because of pent up hostility and fear.

    It worked out very well, nobody was hurt, but I’ll guarantee the cops in those two towns are gonna screw up again. In S. Arizona our guys face this all the time, including the Border Patrol, but their training and experiences are probably much more intense, and we dont have cocca mamie laws like they do in CA.

    Wish we could all just abide by the same laws so it’s not so confusing.

  5. WOW,I never though Calguns would pull through like this. I have to make a donation to them now. I hope they keep up the good work because this is fantastic news!

  6. i live in el centro and LEOs are clueless into gun laws ive also been detained for shooting on BLM land and the LEOs sherrifs wanted to take away my weapons i had done nothing wrong

    imperial valley wont even issuse a ccw with out knowing a LEO local one which violates out 14th amendment rights they said they wont even look at the app why i asked via phone do the officer can let
    us know if u have a felonies ect

    background checks are mandatory when buying a pistol these LEOs are untrained and unprofessinal when it comes to our second amendment rights thats why im moving to az

  7. How about sharing the Training Bulletin with us so that we can share it with our local agencies?

  8. What a breath of fresh air!. Law abiding and tax paying Californian firearm owners are constantly under threat from over zealous lawmakers. Each year, and this year is no exception, legislation is passed by a 2:1 ration that erodes 2nd amendment rights. Why is it so difficult for liberal, albeit well intentioned, lawmakers to grasp the concept that criminals don’t follow the rules? Kudos to Calguns for standing up. The scary part is that the California legislature is on a path that would have seen Mr. Farias successfully prosecuted and Officer Alcaraz vindicated.


  10. Chad, what the LEO charges is irrelevant, as it is up to the district attorney to proffer chargers, which did not happen in this case.
    As for “Wish more lawyers would take on these cases”, if they’re paid, they represent. That is part of our economic system.
    As for THIS case, excellent for the victim here! He had his rights upheld by the DA, forced the local government to properly train their LEO’s, which SHOULD have been the case originally and he got his property back, along with reasonable compensation for his trouble (gotta pay for that attorney SOMEHOW).

  11. So glad to see the right side win for a change! So tired of POs making up charges as they go…. Time for the innocent, to be “Innocent Until proven guilty”…. Wish more lawyers would take on these cases.

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