The Superb Story Of How Curb Your Enthusiasm Helped Clear A Man of Homicide Fees

By Jerome London
Up to date June 18, 2019

Footage of Juan on the sport. 60 Minutes Australia

Curb your homicide fees.

By Jerome London
Up to date June 18, 2019

Footage of Juan on the sport. 60 Minutes Australia

On the night time of Might 12, 2003, 16-year-old Martha Puebla was shot to loss of life outdoors her residence in Solar Valley, CA. Solely days earlier than her homicide, she had testified towards younger Mario Catalan involving a gang slaying through which Mario was charged as an adjunct. Twenty miles away, Mario’s brother Juan was at Dodger Stadium together with his six-year previous daughter, watching his beloved Dodgers play the Atlanta Braves. Since an eyewitness recognized Juan because the shooter and Juan had a felony report from his teenagers, police arrested him and charged him with homicide. He spent almost six months in jail protesting his innocence whereas staring down the loss of life penalty. It wasn’t till Juan’s persistent lawyer was reviewing hours of tapes and noticed Juan within the crowd in the course of the Dodgers sport based mostly on outtakes from Larry David’s HBO collection Curb Your Enthusiasm that the DA was pressured to drop the homicide fees and award him a settlement of $320,000.

Six Months In Hell: Juan Catalan Maintains His Innocence

Juan Catalan grew up loving the Dodgers. When he was very younger, his uncle took him to Dodger Stadium to see the legendary Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela pitch a sport. And when he was eighteen, he caught a home-run ball because it sailed into the stands.

However being arrested for homicide months after the slaying—and being threatened with both dying in jail or through capital punishment—was a dwelling nightmare for a person who insisted he was at Dodger Stadium watching his favourite sports activities group when the homicide occurred.

After his launch, he described to a reporter the psychological torture of being innocently jailed for homicide:

I felt like I didn’t sleep for six months, as a result of there was simply so many, a lot occurring….l imply, I’d by no means seen so many individuals simply, you realize, crushed, you realize? Once you hear a grown man, you realize, cry for assist, and also you’re like, helpless, it’s a sense like, man, simply of full…no hope. There’s like, in there, it’s similar to, you realize, that’s imagined to rehabilitate an individual? No. Not in my thoughts. That simply destroys an individual in there….My thought was, ‘Am I gonna die in right here?’ …We’re introduced as much as assume that, you realize, the policemen are there to guard us, so simply realizing that they’re doing one thing that they shouldn’t, that adjustments the whole lot.

Juan had heard from different inmates a few “badass” protection lawyer named Todd Melnik, and Juan frantically referred to as him begging him to tackle his case. Melnik agreed, and it will be the beginning of an emotional lifelong friendship between the 2. Regardless of the eyewitness, and regardless of the alleged motive of taking out revenge towards somebody who had testified aginst his brother, Melnik believed Juan when he insisted he was harmless.

After a pair months with Juan in jail, his girlfriend reminded him he had been on the Dodger sport that night time together with his daughter. She was even keen to supply the ticket stubs, and Juan was keen to take a lie-detector check, however prosecutors refused. In response to Melnik:

I instructed him. ‘I’m gonna get you outta right here.’… I gotta discover the Holy Grail of Juan’s protection. I want to position my consumer at Dodger Stadium on that night time. Juan remembered they could have been filming one thing there that day….We have been in for an infinite battle. They prosecutor that they had assigned to the case had by no means misplaced. She appreciated to select off individuals with the loss of life penalty. I checked out tape after tape.

Lastly, after months, Juan recalled TV present had been filming on the stadium the night time of the sport. He didn’t keep in mind the identify of the present—and later confessed that on the time, he’d by no means heard of Curb Your Enthusiasm—however he did keep in mind listening to that Tremendous Dave Osborne, whose actual identify is Bob Einstein and performed the character Marty Funkhouser on Curb, was someway concerned within the filming.

Melnik, who had pored over numerous hours of stadium surveillance footage however couldn’t discover something that was clear sufficient to establish Juan, contacted HBO and requested if he might evaluate their outtakes for the present. They agreed.

The fateful episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. 60 Minutes Australia

In response to Curb creator and star Larry David:

The episode was that I picked up a hooker within the automotive pool lane and took her to Dodger Stadium….We shot in two sections in Dodger Stadium….[Letting them review the tapes] sounded very cool as a result of my life is so missing in something fascinating….It did appear to be type of a lame story, however I instructed the lawyer, ‘Go forward, go loopy. Take a look at something you need.’ And we hooked him up with the whole lot from the stadium, all of the footage we shot that night time….I’m there for perhaps 5 minutes, and the lawyer screams out, ‘There he’s!’…We couldn’t imagine it. We rewound the tape, and simply as I’m strolling up the aisle in a single shot, this man is sitting proper there. After which there was one other shot the place he was standing up.

Nonetheless, because the tapes have been time-stamped and situated Juan on the stadium round 9PM and the homicide didn’t happen till round 10:30, the prosecutor wouldn’t budge. She argued that there was loads of time for Juan to depart the stadium and drive the 20 miles to commit the slaying.

However lastly, Melnik was capable of find a cellphone name between Juan and his girlfriend that pinged proper close to Dodger Stadium at a time the place it will have been bodily inconceivable for Juan to succeed in the crime scene in time to commit the homicide.

Upon listening to all of the proof, the decide within the case dismissed all the costs and Juan was a free man.

Footage of Juan on the sport. 60 Minutes Australia

The Metropolis of Los Angeles Settles With Juan

Juan filed a lawsuit towards the Metropolis of Los Angeles for police misconduct and was awarded $320,000 for false imprisonment.

The 2 murder detectives who tried to border him. 60 Minutes Australia

And though it later was revealed that the 2 police who investigated Juan and named him because the shooter had framed him—and that amazingly, certainly one of them continues to be employed as a cop—Juan says he forgives them:

You recognize, hate is, nobody ought to stroll round with hate in them. That’s poison in our our bodies that, you realize, it doesn’t harm the particular person you hate, it hurts your self, and it eats away at your soul.

Just a few years after the settlement, Neflix produced a brief documentary about Juan’s case titled Lengthy Shot It notes that if Juan had merely gone residence that night time and hadn’t attended the sport and been filmed by HBO, he may be on Dying Row proper now.

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