Cop had no probable cause to jail 17-year-old girl. Shockingly inept police work.
- This should frighten every citizen of Albuquerque. The rule of law is non-existent in Albuquerque. We have stunningly inept police detectives and DA’s and judges who are blindly signing whatever APD gives them. God help us all.
- NO WHERE IN THE AFFIDAVIT DID SALGADO IDENTIFY GISELL ESTRADA AS LEXI! THE AFFIDAVIT IS MISLEADING AT BEST, AND A LIE AT WORSE.
BY DAN KLEIN
Gisell Estrada is an innocent child. She was never involved in the murder of Calvin Kelly. She didn’t know Kelly nor any of the suspects. In a monumental case of inept detective work she was plucked off the streets of Albuquerque and put in jail for six days for a crime she had no knowledge of and absolutely nothing to do with.
When I say she had nothing to do with this murder, I mean exactly that. Zilch, nothing, zero. Yet, she (a 17 year-old-child) was arrested for murder and spent six days locked up with real murderers and rapists.
Why? Because of a monumental failure by APD, the DA’s office, and the district court judge to properly do their jobs. This should piss off every one of you. If they continue to screw up no one is safe from being falsely accused and locked up in a jail cell – not you, not your children, not neighbors, not your aunts, not your uncles, not even your grandparents.
A check of court records shows that some of the documents, including Gisell Estrada’s arrest affidavit, have been unsealed. Before I go further let me explain what it takes to get an arrest warrant from a judge.
The affidavit requesting that a judge issue an arrest warrant must include sufficient factual information to establish probable cause that a crime was committed, and the person named committed that crime. Probable cause is a requirement found in the 4th Amendment of our Constitution. Probable cause for arrest when facts would lead a reasonable person to believe that a suspect has committed a crime. Probable cause cannot come from suspicion but must come from facts.
Police officers learn about probable cause in the police academy. District attorneys and judges learn about this in the years they spend in law school. Probable cause is a cornerstone of our legal system, which is why district attorneys and judges are required to review arrest warrants. They are the experts. This is their job. In Gisell Estrada’s case they all failed her miserably.
Gisell’s arrest warrant details the murder of Calvin Kelly. The only part of this warrant I will discuss specifically refers to Gisell. I will explain what the detective missed and did wrong, and why it should have been caught by the DA and the judge.
During the investigation the APD detective spoke to one of the suspects in the murder, Cynthia Salgado. Salgado identified the planner of the murder as “Lexi,” who the detective states he identified as Gisell Estrada. The detective states that he located a Facebook account for a Lexi Boo, that resembled the description the of the driver of the vehicle seen leaving the scene of the murder. The detective says that he had Salgado review photographs where she positively identified “Lexi” as Gisell Estrada. That was the basis of his request for a warrant for the arrest of Gisell Estrada, aka “Lexi” or Alexis Barraza.
“I met with Salgado again to clarify a few points from her previously obtained statement on September 17, 2019, along with having her review photographs, where she positively identified her boyfriend Adam Cazares (DOB), Jassiah Montoya (DOB), and “Lexi” Gisell Estrada (DOB),” the detective's request for the arrest warrant says.
This affidavit for arrest of Gisell is not factual and is so lacking in specific facts that it is unbelievable that the detective's sergeant, lieutenant, the district attorney and the judge didn’t quash it. By their approval they are all complicit in her false arrest. Salgado did not identify Gisell as “Lexi” as stated in the affidavit. Salgado only identified the photo shown to her of “Lexi” as the same person that was involved in the murder of Calvin Kelly.
NO WHERE IN THE AFFIDAVIT DID SALGADO IDENTIFY GISELL ESTRADA AS LEXI! THE AFFIDAVIT IS MISLEADING AT BEST, AND A LIE AT WORSE.
What is missing from this arrest warrant? What should the DA and the judge have caught and corrected?
First, how does the detective identify “Lexi” as Gisell Estrada? This must be specific and factual and it’s missing. Second, where did the pictures that the detective showed Salgado come from? Were they from Facebook? Did he do a photo-array? The DA and judge don’t know because the detective doesn’t say where he obtained the photos. Did the detective include photos that were not of Gisell to ensure Salgado was identifying the correct person? At the end of the complaint the detective asks for a warrant to be issued and includes the name “Alexis Barraza.” Where did this name come from? How did the detective draw the conclusion that Lexi is Gisell Estrada who is Alexis Barraza? He doesn’t explain, and that is crappy police work.
If I can easily find these errors, why didn’t the DA and the judge who both have law degrees? Or are they just rubber stamping whatever APD gives them? It sure seems that way.
After Gisell had been locked up for six days, another suspect Jassiah Montoya, told the detective, “You have the wrong Lexi, I just spoke to her yesterday.”
Thank God Jassiah did the right thing because the detective, district attorney and judge sure as hell didn’t.
This revelation sparked a hurried attempt by the detective and the DA to release Gisell. This tells me that neither the detective nor the DA wanted to put an innocent person in jail, but it also shows how horrible the investigation into the identity of Lexi was done. It further brings into question of whether the judge and the reviewing DA actually read the complaint.
At this time the detective prepared a new warrant for the arrest of the “real” Lexi, Alexis Pina. This complaint does the detail work that should have been done with Gisell. Not surprisingly, this new warrant devotes considerable time to covering the ass of the detective for falsely arresting Gisell.
The new information discovered in the Pina complaint states that the detective went to Facebook and found an account registered alexis.barraza, “Lexi.” Lexi’s Facebook friends were the murder victim, Calvin Kelly, and the other suspect, Jassiah Montoya. So how did the detective draw the conclusion that Alexis Barraza is Gisell Estrada?
In a stunningly lazy investigation where the detective never even spoke to the person identifying Gisell.
The detective states that after Salgado confirmed that the Facebook pictures were of “Lexi,” he contacted an APD school resource officer at Albuquerque High School to assist in identifying her. The detective never explains what led him to Albuquerque High School, other than saying he believed she attended Albuquerque High School. This is another omission that should have been caught by the DA and judge.
The detective forwarded two Facebook photos to the school resource officer. The officer later told the detective that he showed the two photos to Albuquerque High School employees and that one employee positively identified the photo as Gisell Estrada. That’s it, that’s all they have to connect Lexi to Gisell.
The detective never followed up with the employee. The detective never personally interviewed the employee. The detective, who had spoken several times with Cynthia Salgado (co-defendant) without arresting her, decided he didn’t need to find and interview Gisell Estrada to determine if she was Lexi. This is an inexcusable failure of basic detective skills committed by a seasoned homicide detective. APD homicide detectives are supposed to be the best and most thorough of all detectives. So why do they keep screwing up cases? Jayden Silver-Chavez and Victoria Martens are just two examples of inexcusable mistakes made by this homicide unit. Chief Geier where are you?
To summarize, the detective had information that the Lexi on Facebook was the person who helped commit the murder of Calvin Kelly. The detective failed, miserably, in identifying the person in the Facebook photos. He should have personally talked to the APS employee. He should have taken the information from APS and spoken to Gisell to confirm whether she was the person on Facebook, prior to arresting her. As the first check and balance, the DA who reviewed the original warrant should have easily determined there was no probable cause to believe Gisell Estrada was Lexi and sent the detective to do more investigation. When the DA missed it, the judge, the final check and balance to protect the innocent, should have caught this blunder.
Both the DA and judge have law degrees, I can only assume that they did what Michael Patrick stated and were simply a rubber stamp for the APD detective.
If true, this should frighten every citizen of Albuquerque. The rule of law is non-existent in Albuquerque. We have stunningly inept police detectives and DA’s and judges who are blindly signing whatever APD gives them. God help us all.