Madera Co. settles with illegal resident
DA accused of threatening jail over insurance deductible.
By Pablo Lopez / The Fresno Bee
(Updated Thursday, January 5, 2006, 10:20 AM)
Madera County has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit against District
Attorney Ernest LiCalsi by paying $162,500 to an illegal resident who
alleged that he was threatened with jail, deportation and bogus criminal
Honorio Quiroz initially asked for $1.25 million when he sued the county in
February 2003. His lawyer, Steven A. Geringer, of Madera, said Wednesday
that his client felt the county's offer was fair.
Quiroz, who worked as a dishwasher in Madera, has been paid and has returned
to Mexico, Geringer said.
LiCalsi, in response, said he was ready to defend himself in U.S. District
Court in Fresno, but county officials made a financial decision to settle
the case. "I had no control over the settlement," he said.
Regarding the allegations, LiCalsi said: "I feel I did nothing unethical or
The lawsuit stems from a traffic accident on Oct. 16, 2002, when Quiroz's
car collided with a car driven by LiCalsi's son. Quiroz, who was in the
United States illegally and does not speak English, was driving without a
license and insurance. He also gave a false name when he exchanged
information with LiCalsi's son, court records said.
LiCalsi got in trouble when he asked his investigator, Fabian Benabente, to
track Quiroz down, court records said. Benabente found Quiroz and took him
to the District Attorney's Office.
Because LiCalsi speaks and understands limited Spanish, Benabente, who is
fluent in Spanish, acted as an interpreter.
At the office, Quiroz alleged in his lawsuit that he was threatened with
jail, deportation and bogus criminal charges if he didn't pay LiCalsi's $500
Quiroz said he ended up paying LiCalsi $500 in two payments. LiCalsi denied
making any threats toward Quiroz or ordering Benabente to scare of
intimidate Quiroz. Benabente no longer works for the District Attorney's
Geringer said he too was looking forward to a trial, saying it was a case in
which Quiroz could have received nothing because he was driving illegally
and living here illegally.
Quiroz also could have "hit it out of the park" and received a substantial
sum, Geringer said, if the jury had found LiCalsi had used Benabente at
taxpayers' expense to resolve LiCalsi's personal affairs.
Fresno lawyer Rosemary McGuire, who represented LiCalsi, said it was "a
defensible case," but adding that settling was in the best interest of the
She noted the settlement has a clause that says there was no admission of
liability or responsibility from either side.
LiCalsi said he hopes the settlement ends the emotional and financial
turmoil he and his family have had to endure.
The State Bar of California last July imposed a one-year public reproval on
LiCalsi after he pleaded no contest to an accusation that he agreed not to
prosecute Quiroz in exchange for a $500 insurance deductible payment.
At the time, LiCalsi said he chose not to contest the State Bar action
because he could not afford it. He also said he already had spent about
$45,000 of his own money to defend himself.
The State Bar also said LiCalsi, who has been Madera County's top prosecutor
since 1991, had no prior record of disciplinary action and that a wide range
of references attested to his good character.
Recently, LiCalsi prosecuted Patrick Booth in connection with the July 2004
violent home invasion of a Madera couple and their then 11-year-old son, who
was injected with methamphetamine.
A jury on Dec. 8 convicted Booth of 10 felony charges, including attempted
murder, burglary, robbery, and false imprisonment.
Booth faces a life prison term when he is sentenced Monday.
This pisses me off on so many levels
It angers me, too. If the DA went beyond the means he would have used to help a regular citizen, then he did wrong. The fact that he was put in the situation and had to resort to underhanded tactics comes as no surprise. Maybe if enough of the people who sell us out to these ILLEGAL aliens experience this kind of thing, we'll see some reversal.
My limited Spanish skills are supplemented by much hand waving and knowledge that everyone understands english better when the speaker draws a pistol.
Fortunately, I have only had to resort to handwaving to get my point across, so far.
Would you care to elaborate? I am of the same opinion, but can't decide what's worse--Quiroz' behavior, or the government official's.
I lived in Madera County several years ago about when this guy was DA and never heard much about him. Madera County is north of Fresno County (hence going to the Federal Court in Fresno). It is large farms to the West and the Sierras to the East. We lived in the foothills almost in the mountains. The law there is loose but fair. I sued my insurance carrier in small claims court in Madera County and won for unpaid medical bills. They tended to give the judges a lot of latitude and it appeared that the prosecuters did pretty much what they wanted.
We had to sit through two arraignments and sentencing sessions while we waited for our case twice.
The Hispanic population is larger around the city of Madera because of the farms. It is mostly white with a few Indians (Native Americans so to speak) in the east in the foothills and mountains. I am somewhat surprised with the value of the judgement in that from my recollection Madera County was always poor. There is little industry, some pass through tourism enroute to Yosemite from LA, and mostly farming with a huge welfare problem. The number of illegals in the area along with meth labs is mindboggling.
The whole thing doesn't surprise me in hindsight for that county in that the local City and County Fathers try to run everything there.
I'm with ya there, chiz. The DA used public funds, personnel and the power of his office to attempt to settle what would have been a private problem for anyone else. We have illegals in court on traffic charges all the time and it seems that they never have a license or insurance, but not much is ever done except collect fines.
Add me to the list of unhappy campers. Fortunately no experience there, though I DID learn of a situation that caused me rage.........simply that there is NO insurance requirement for Mexican vehicles crossing the border!!!!!!!!! It's a "state" issue and requirement, and the feds reputedly don't concern themselves!!! I nearly freak every time a see a Mexico-registered vehicle, and there ARE some here in LV.......makes me crazy!!
If you want to be in this country to be an american I have no problem as long as you come here legally. The If things happened as they were described, then the DA should be reprimanded. The judge should be reprimanded, the attorney for the plaintiff and his family should then also move to mexico. When you defend the indefensable you should be thrown out of the country.
To feel ( note the liberal feeling word) you have done nothing wrong is one thing. PULL that crap in Mexico and see what happens.
I want the borders and immigration enforced now!! AT EVERY LEVEL!! INCLUDING THE COURTS, the police. Don't give me that crap about being short handed.
IF you aren't going to enforce the laws, then which law do I get to ignore?
How about NFA!! How about IRS. How about property taxes. How about drug laws. How about childwelfare laws. Antidiscrimintaion laws? Practice medicine without a liscense? How about murder?
This kind of stuff is infuriating.
You're freaken' kidding me!
When we did a Geology/Biology trip down the coast of Baja Mexico in 2000, we HAD to get Mexican insurance for our cars (3 big, white, vans in our Caravan). And we don't make Mexican-registered cars have insurance while here?
That's just out-and-out B.S.!
'Settle' is the kind way of saying it..EXTORTION came to my mind.
The requirement of insurance is a state issue and not a federal one. LE can't enforce the insurance requirement on out of state vehicles.
Do we really want the feds regulating our insurance???
Canada and Mexico have federal regulations concerning insurance. You need it in order to enter their country.
Sure would. Nevermind the fact that he was illegal however, the fact that he had no insurance or CDL should have been enough to send his ass back across the border.
What the DA did was wrong perhaps, however I feel his pain. I am from Fresno. These migrant workers can't seem to understand what a STOP sign is. As CPTKILLER can surely tell you how many vans packed with migrants run intersections and kill other people and themselves. I can go on forever about this so I won't.
Shortly before I left for Iraq, my mother was involved in a serious accident. She was riding on a Harley with friend. They were stopped at a stoplight behind another vehicle (Honda Civic). An uninsured driver w/a suspended DL and high on narco, slammed into them throwing my mother and the other guy off the bike and sent the H-D into the rear window of the Civic. My mother now has a 4" length of titanium in her leg to replace the shatter bone. You know what my mother got out of it? $0 and no recoup of lost work or sick days. She is a grammer school teacher. Her scumbag lowlife fuckstick lawyer decided that there wasn't a case(no money in it) and dropped her. Kudo's to the fucking DA for trying to get that prick to pay the deductable. It may be wrong but the right way doesn't work either.
Madera Co. should have at least got their moneys worth and kicked his ass.
Animus, PM sent.
Why should he pay a $500 deductable because the ass had no insurance. It's a sad day when we have to pay for uninsured motorist coverage on our insurance policies.
I know it's wrong yet it's so frustrating to see good and innocent people get the shaft.
Funny... I live in Madera and had no idea this went on... I have to goto a Nevada forum to hear about it! lol. I'm just glad when it was all said and done they deported his illegal ass... course with a $160k he'll live like a king in old Mexico. Oh well.
The story was emailed to me from a Fresno county deputy. And I don't think he was deported. Our good friend Honorio is probably using the money to build water holes through out the Southwest so his border hopping brethren won't dehydrate while smuggling in 100lbs of coke on their back.
When I lived in the area about once a month more or less some idiot with a van with about 20-30 illegals in it would run in front of a truck and kill everyone in the van. The local Fresno TV stations would discuss the horror of it all. The fact that thet driver had no insurance. CHP would make a statement about the law and etc. The reality is that few if any of these characters are ever ticketed carrying illegals to work. I was frustrated and very cautious when I went through Madera to see my daughter who lived in beautiful downtown Kerman, CA.
The Fresno County deputies were all pretty good but most the enforcement on the highways was done by CHP. I rarely saw them off of Highways 99 and 41 hence the lack of real enforcement of insurance by illegals. Freano PD was more interested in catching yellow light runners in the better part of town where I worked than going down to the areas where the illegals lived. The city could collect the fines from citizens rather than the illegals who were shadow members of the community.
In their defense with the huge crime rate there that was somewhat understandable. It was not that unusual for the CA Gang bangers in Fresno to open up on the PD with outlawed weapons that ordinary citizens couldn't own. As a result, there was not a large police effort in those areas.
Thank God for NV Gun laws as compared with the kooky laws in CA.