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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Second jury hangs in hit-run accessory case; charges dismissed

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From page A1 | March 11, 2012 | 4 Comments

Lorin Warren. Enterprise file photo

Yolo County prosecutors scrapped their case against a Dixon man Friday after a second jury leaned toward acquitting him of charges that he aided his daughter following a 2007 hit-and-run collision.

The six-man, six-woman jury deliberated for nearly two days before declaring itself deadlocked 11-1 in favor of finding Lorin Warren not guilty of being an accessory to a felony.

“This is a great day for Lorin Warren, his family and the criminal justice system,” Kellin Cooper, Warren’s defense attorney, said in a phone interview following a Friday afternoon court hearing in which the accessory charge was dismissed. “An innocent person has finally been exonerated.”

Deputy District Attorney Clinton Parish, who prosecuted the case, declined to comment.

The case stemmed from an Aug. 27, 2007, hit-and-run collision in which Davis motorcyclists Jonathan Pinkerton and Kyle Daubert were injured after a maroon Chevy Tahoe struck Pinkerton from behind as the men took an evening ride on rural Russell Boulevard west of Davis.

Witnesses said Pinkerton’s motorcycle became lodged underneath the Tahoe, and the driver dragged the bike for nearly a mile while fleeing the scene. Pinkerton spent the next 17 days in a hospital trauma unit.

California Highway Patrol officers seized the damaged Tahoe about a week later in Winters, where it was being repaired by an unlicensed mechanic hired by Lorin Warren. Yolo County prosecutors alleged that Warren made the arrangement to protect his daughter Noelle Marie Warren, who was known to drive the sport-utility vehicle, from being linked to the hit-and-run.

A jury last summer convicted 27-year-old Noelle Warren of felony hit-and-run, and she was sentenced in December to three years in state prison. The same jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquitting Lorin Warren, leading to a mistrial and a decision by the DA’s Office to try the case a second time.

Lorin Warren, 54, has claimed his daughter told him the Tahoe had struck a tree. Cooper, his attorney, set his sights on the CHP, which he said had a “one-sided” view of the evidence in the case.

“They had a belief that Lorin Warren must be guilty, and they tailored (the investigation) to fit their theory,” Cooper said Friday. He added that the Warren family “continues to believe that their daughter is completely innocent.”

Jonathan Pinkerton’s family released a statement Friday acknowledging the challenges the jury faced.

“A case like this is very difficult, especially one that has gone on for so long. The burden of proof is enormous for the prosecutor,” the family said. “We are grateful for the tireless efforts of Deputy District Attorney, Clint Parish. We also appreciate the hard work of the jury, who clearly took their task seriously and conscientiously.”

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene

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Discussion | 4 comments

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  • n payMarch 10, 2012 - 7:57 am

    The attorney, Mr. Cooper, misuses the word "exonerated." It is misleading to suggest that Lorin Warren was exonerated of the charges against him. He was neither acquitted nor exonerated, which means declared not guilty. Two hung juries failed to exonerate Mr. Warren. The case was ultimately dismissed. The system provides a vast majority of advantages to the defendant which holds jurors to conceding any benefit of doubt to the defendant. Three jurors from the two trials asserted Mr. Warren's guilt without backing down. Though the outcome was extremely close, there was no cigar in this case.

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  • Prosecutorial overreachingMarch 10, 2012 - 8:29 am

    It's a pretty big indictment of the prosecutor's judgment to prosecute at at all when you have TWO hung juries, one with a count of 10 to 2, and another with 11 to 1. When a prosecutor stands up in court and emphatically argues the evidence supports a conviction, and this count happens, the prosecutor has made a bad call. This is who we want as judge?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Janet GreenApril 18, 2012 - 10:41 pm

    Why doesn't the Warren family just tell the dang truth for once? For Pete's sake! She should have just stopped and tried to help the victims. Also does hitting a tree look the same as hitting a person on a motorcycle and then dragging it under your car for a mile? I wonder? Does anyone remember the Woodland case of hit and run where the victim died and then the mother of the driver trying to cover that up for her daughter as well? Yeah, they both ended up in the slammer! What is wrong with people? Do you think they lied under oath?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Armand CaritinoApril 23, 2012 - 10:29 pm

    What gives you the idea that you know what the truth is? Were you there that night? Did you see the person driving the car that committed this crime? If so, why didn't you step forward? Did you see the car after the accident? How do you know what it looked like? Did you sit in court and hear the evidence? Tell me how you know what the truth is. Another question, do you know the Warren's personally to say that they never tell the truth? You insinuated with the phrase "for once" they must be habitual liars. Can you back up that statement?

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