VISTA, Calif. - The man who shot video of a controversial Border Patrol take-down was in court Monday, fighting to regain his freedom.
Jose Guzman was driving his work truck near Borrego Jan. 13, when he was pulled over by Border Patrol agents. Two of the men in the vehicle were undocumented workers who resisted arrest. One of them got away, the other struggled with a Border Patrol officer, as Guzman recorded it on his cellphone.
Within hours of giving the video to 10News, Guzman was in jail for violating the terms of the CPAC unit, which allows offenders to serve their time on house arrest. CPAC, which is run by the San Diego County Sheriff's department, claims Guzman was remanded into custody because he did not report his contact with law enforcement, which is one of the terms of the program.
In court Monday, Guzman's attorney, Peter Liss, argued that his client's arrest was retaliatory because he refused to help federal agents capture the undocumented worker who got away. Liss challenged CPAC's argument that his client didn't contact them by presenting cellphone records that show he dialed CPAC from his girlfriend's cellular phone after Border Patrol agents seized his for evidence.
Guzman's girlfriend, Erica Garcia, shared cellphone records that showed Guzman dialed a number for the CPAC unit from her cellular phone at least five times. While the CPAC lieutenant told 10News in a previous report that the phone did not belong to the unit, testimony Monday showed it was the "trunk" line that shows up on caller ID when CPAC workers make outgoing calls.
Garcia said she was in the room when a Border Patrol agent gave Guzman that number. It was not the direct line to his case worker, Deputy Nathaniel Black.
Liss argued that because of the miscommunication, Guzman should be allowed to return to his house arrest.
Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior argued that Guzman admitted he did not make the call to his case worker soon enough, and that releasing him could present a public safety issue. Prior said releasing Guzman could set a dangerous precedent.
Judge Harry Elias agreed with Liss that Guzman should have been allowed some sort of administrative hearing after he was suspected of breaking CPAC's rules.
The judge will announce his ruling Tuesday in Vista court.