Are potential jurors afraid of reprisal?

November 19, 2014
Anthony Ibarra

Anthony Ibarra

Santa Barbara County Superior Court has summoned 1,400 potential jurors for a Santa Maria torture-murder trial, but approximately 1,000 of those summoned did not show up to court. [KSBY]

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of six defendants charged with murdering and torturing 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra in March 2013. Several gang members allegedly killed Ibarra at a Santa Maria home and dumped his body in a U-haul truck found in Orcutt as retribution for Ibarra not paying his drug tax and for stealing drugs from the gang to sell on his own.

The superior court summoned more than 2,000 jurors to report to the Santa Maria Fairpark specifically for the Ibarra murder trial. Approximately 700 candidates for the jury are expected to report daily on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

However, only 143 of the 700 summoned for jury duty on Monday appeared, and about 250 potential jurors reported on Tuesday.

Some observers suspect fear of retaliation is a factor motivating individuals not to report to jury duty for what has been dubbed “the U-haul murder trial.”

Those who fail to report to jury duty can face fines of up to $1,500 and must return to court to fulfill their duty.

But, the gang that allegedly killed Ibarra and dumped his naked body in a U-Haul truck may have done so over a debt of as little as $1,200. Grand jury transcripts indicate that Ramon “Crazy Ray” Maldonado, the local drug tax collector and one of the remaining defendants in the case, ordered Ibarra’s murder over a drug tax debt of at about $1,200.

Following the murder, police arrested 11 suspects ranging in age from 15 to 54 years old. Several of those charged agreed to plea deals with prosecutors.

Jury selection is expected to continue for another month, and the trial is expected to last through February.



  1. SanSimeonSam says:

    No fear….Why waste the time. Where is the crime here. Gang members killing gang members. We should focus our efforts on eliminating the collateral damage, innocent people being hurt or the drugs being sold to those outside of gang circles. Then try and educate the survivors. In the meantime let Darwin be Darwin

    (2) 20 Total Votes - 11 up - 9 down
    • LameCommenter says:

      Who ARE you, Sam? Damn. Some of your biting comments hit the ten-X ring dead center, with a matter of fact simplicity. You will get thumbs downs from the libs, but your remarks plus it’s saving grace humane remark “educate the survivors” hits the mark again.

      High accuracy, SSS. (What my professional rifle instructor would have deemed “a perfect target”).

      (-6) 16 Total Votes - 5 up - 11 down
    • Ted Slanders says:


      Wouldn’t it be wiser to educate people before they become survivors?

      Yes, Darwinism to the non-christian can certainly play an important role in the elimination of these criminals, but it is not true Christianity at work here. For that, all true Christians are to love their enemies to their community, and pray and take care of them.

      “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Matt. 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-28)

      “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” (Proverbs 25:21)

      “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” (Luke 6:27)

      “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:28)

      (-9) 15 Total Votes - 3 up - 12 down
      • Spacetrekker says:

        I’ve missed you Ted. Nice to hear from you again.

        (-8) 12 Total Votes - 2 up - 10 down
  2. Zuma7 says:

    Welcome to the Mexico-Norte culture.
    Better get used to it fast.

    (19) 27 Total Votes - 23 up - 4 down
    • achillesheal says:

      Yep. They are a lawless people – just look at their country.

      Should be nice when our fearless leader opens the floodgates in his final coup-de-grace of trying to wreck this country.

      (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
      • Ted Slanders says:


        The GOP has been in lame excuse mode for the last eighteen months; Republicans can’t pass an immigration bill, and somehow that’s Obama’s fault, so President Obama has to pass something to get John Boener to do his job.

        Whatever Obama passes, it is only temporary until the now Republican controlled House and Senate actually do something instead of absolute obstructionism. It matters not what has been proposed in the past, it matters what is on the table now, and that is an already partisan agreed upon Immigration Bill that sits on the House floor, and Boener will NOT allow it to be voted upon! Whose is at fault?

        Blaming Obama works only to a certain point, and eventually the Republican obstructionists will have to kick in with immigration reform legislation if they ever hope to broaden the party’s appeal to emerging demographics. But their internal divisions, aka the “Tea Party Clown Car,” make that an uncertain prospect at best. So instead, the GOP just falls back on what they know and preemptively blame the president for their failure to act.

        Maybe we’ll get to see another government shutdown enacted by the Republicans because Obama is acting upon immigration where the GOP cannot. In this way, maybe we’ll see Ted Cruz recite Dr. Seuss again, costing our country billions of dollars while doing so. Stay tuned for the new GOP’s “do nothing” Senate and Congress!

        (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
        • Citizen says:

          Congratulations. You sucessfully repeated all the Democratic talking points without addressing any of the problems concerned with Obama’s plan–like how they are going to check for criminal records for 5 million people, and the crimes that will not be considered as crimes, such as DUIs and drug smuggling. How do they verify that people have been here 5 years, and how do they determine their fair share of income tax? My bet is that they will ask these people to fill out a form and will accept whatever they say–nothing will be verified.

          Then, while these 5 million people are legalized, millions more will pour over the border and become the new “people in the shadows”. How does that fix the immigration system?

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  3. Ted Slanders says:

    Just another reason we should have “Professional Jurors” going into the 21st Century, and that may not live in the area for their further protection to them and family. No amount of pay for the jurors would be enough for deciding the fate of these criminals because of the possible equal termination of them in the same manner as Anthony Ibarra.

    It’s time for a more professional way of resolving legal disputes and murder trials, one where the “deciders” are not a bunch of often-unwilling people plucked from the street and forced to spend their lives to resolve the disputes of others, and without the expertise in law to evaluate the facts correctly in applying the law!

    Case in point, the O.J. Simpson trial.

    (-2) 22 Total Votes - 10 up - 12 down
    • Black_Copter_Pilot says:

      The Hebrew God would not approve.

      (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
      • Ted Slanders says:


        No, the Hebrew God of the bible would be against any pseudo-christians being on any jury. “Judge not that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged” (Matthew 7:1-2), or simply put, “Don’t convict others of sin.”

        Therefore, let all Christians be judged by the hell bound atheist, where there is no bible swearing in festivities! Praise!

        (-6) 8 Total Votes - 1 up - 7 down

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