On September 21, 2022, the night before a court hearing, Adam Garcia, looks through the many crates full of court documents and research he maintains on his case.
On September 21, 2022, the night before a court hearing, Adam Garcia, looks through the many crates full of court documents and research he maintains on his case. Credit: Aryana Noroozi for CatchLight Local / Black Voice News

District Attorneys wield significant influence over criminal justice proceedings and yet they remain among the least accountable to the constituents they serve.

S. E. Williams

“The community has to see us as tough and aggressive,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin told the Desert Sun during his bid for reelection in May 2018. “People may think they don’t want that, but trust me, when they’re the victim of a crime, that’s what they want — a tough, aggressive, and ethical [District Attorney’s] DA’s office.”

Some can dismiss Hestrin’s comments as pure political rhetoric spewed in hopes of securing a victory during a contested election. But in Hestrin’s case, it  is highly probable that he meant every word and in some instances, it is also possible members of his department may be stretching the limits of ethics to deliver on Hestrin’s tough talk.  

A new, Black Voice News investigative report, “I Fear for My Life” Part 1, Adam Garcia’s Nightmare, the first installment of our Due Process series,  shines a light on a number of questionable actions taken in the DA’s pursuit of one individual, 33-year-old Adam Garcia. 

Certainly, the charges against Garcia are serious. He is accused of being over the age of 21 and enticing a minor to a location for the purposes of sexual intercourse. Garcia, however insists  the incident described by the DA never occurred and he does not know the alleged victim. 

The purpose of our investigative report is not to try the case in the press nor to advocate Garcia’s innocence or guilt. Instead, we are focused on examining the DA’s pursuit of the criminal charges against Garcia in detail in a genuine quest to hold local officials involved in the judicial process accountable for the fair and equitable administration of justice not only in Garcia’s case but as is legally required in every case.

To that end, our reporting has revealed a plethora of startling revelations including missing official documents, discrepancies between agencies and what appears to be cooperative relationships between the district attorney’s office and an unlicensed, weapon’s-carrying bounty hunter with a felony record who not only arrested Garcia but presented himself as acting on behalf of the DA’s office. 

And—this is just the beginning of the story. In the coming weeks part 2 of Adam’s story will present additional discrepancies certain to raise eyebrows about what exactly is going on in Riverside County when it comes to systemic and institutional discrepancies that may be impacting other individuals in our area who are seeking the fair administration of “innocent until proven guilty” judicial consideration as is their right under the U.S. Constitution. 

The role of investigative journalism is to uncover hidden subject matter whether its intentional or unintentional. In this instance the goal is to root out facts and failures that impede judicial equity in Riverside County as the first step toward seeking meaningful solutions designed to ensure fairness. One of the ways to help achieve this goal is by shining light in dark places. 

Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and social justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Over the years Stephanie has reported for other publications in the inland region and Los Angeles and received awards from the California News Publishers Association for her investigative reporting and Ethnic Media Services for her weekly column, Keeping it Real. She also served as a Health Journalism Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at myopinion@ievoice.com.