Monday, March 19 , 2018, 7:44 am | Fair 41º


Local News

UCSB Police Officer’s DUI Charge Holds Up Isla Vista Deltopia Reveler Case

Attorneys file motions related to the DUI charge and personnel file for UC Santa Barbara officer allegedly assaulted in the Deltopia case

UC Santa Barbara Police Officer Antonio “Tony” Magana testifies during the preliminary hearing for Desmond Edwards, who is accused of assaulting him by throwing a backpack with a liquor bottle at his face.
UC Santa Barbara Police Officer Antonio “Tony” Magana testifies during the preliminary hearing for Desmond Edwards, who is accused of assaulting him by throwing a backpack with a liquor bottle at his face.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk file photo)

Two years have passed with no resolution for a 19-year-old Los Angeles man accused of hitting a UC Santa Barbara police officer in the face with a backpack during Isla Vista’s Deltopia street party that turned into a night of rioting.

That’s because the officer and victim, Antonio “Tony” Magaña, was later charged with driving under the influence — a case that’s also ongoing.

Next month, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Brian Hill will hear two motions in the 2014 case against Desmond Edwards, who was 17 at the time of the alleged crime and faces adult felony charges of assault, resisting arrest and causing great bodily injury.

The first will come from Edwards’ defense attorney, who wants to compel the court to disclose evidence related to Magaña’s DUI charge, according to Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod, who is against the motion.

Magaña faces two misdemeanor charges for driving under the influence of alcohol and for driving with a blood alcohol level of higher than 0.08, the legal limit, on July 3, 2015, according to the criminal complaint. He also failed to submit to a chemical test.

Weichbrod, who’s prosecuting the Deltopia case, has already filed a pitchess motion, which would allow a judge to look into Magaña’s personnel file to search for anything that might show he has a history of excessive force or incidents that could impact his trustworthiness as a key witness.

The motion typically comes from a defendant, but Weichbrod said the District Attorney’s Office received a letter saying there might be such information in Magaña’s file.

“I filed it because I felt that information is something we need to get out,” Weichbrod said of findings the prosecution might need to disclose. “It’s our job.”

Hill will make a determination on that motion May 3. Weichbrod said no one except the judge — not even the prosecution or defense attorneys — can open the personnel file.

Because the DUI case is ongoing in the Lompoc Division of Superior Court, Weichbrod said he could not comment on it.

The case has been held up, he said, mostly because UC Police attorneys have requested the Deltopia case not move forward until administrative discipline has been finalized.

Based on what’s found during the pitchess motion hearing, Weichbrod said he will either try to settle Edwards’ case or move forward with a trial.

Edwards, who has pleaded not guilty, hasn’t been in custody since July 2014, when Hill dropped bail and allowed his release.

A tentative trial date of March 24, 2015 was vacated.

Edwards is accused of leading law enforcement officers on a foot pursuit along the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista during the unsanctioned, alcohol-fueled event of Deltopia on April 5, 2014.

When members of the Sheriff’s Department’s Isla Vista Foot Patrol and UCSB Police chased after suspects involved in a fight, Edwards allegedly ran down the street and threw his backpack — containing a large glass liquor bottle — into Magaña’s face.

Magaña ended up at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital emergency room with a concussion and received 30 stitches above his right eyebrow, authorities said.

Authorities allege the incident involving Edwards helped spur the rioting that followed. 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >