No criminal charges will be filed against a man once suspected in the strong-armed robbery of two iPads from a Murrieta retail store, Patch has learned.
Joshua Danielson, 27, of Murrieta was arrested Oct. 12 in connection with the robbery that took place Sept. 27 at Super Target, 27818 Clinton Keith Road.
But after reviewing the case file submitted by Murrieta police investigators, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday it would not be filing charges against Danielson.
“We did not file any charges based on a lack of sufficient evidence,” said John Hall, spokesperson for the DA’s office. Since no charges were filed, Hall said he could not go into further detail.
Murrieta police maintain Danielson was arrested on probable cause.
“In the Danielson case, probable cause existed for the arrest, as well as a search warrant,” wrote Murrieta police Lt. Conrad, in an emailed response to Patch. “I can not talk about the specifics of the case. For example, I don’t want to discuss whether Mr. Danielson gave a statement, what statements we obtained from witnesses, what specific evidence we have.”
According to a search warrant obtained by Patch, the Murrieta police investigation into Danielson began when they received a tip from an anonymous caller. The caller stated they recognized Danielson as they watched surveillance footage that was posted in a crime bulletin on the Murrieta Police Department website and made available to other law enforcement as well as the media.
The caller told police they had seen Danielson wearing a hat and shirt similar to those worn by the suspect during the robbery, and that he had a similar gait.
Police then prepared a photo lineup that included Danielson’s DMV photo.
Three people—including the store clerk who was hit in the face by the robbery suspect and another employee who was working that night—picked Danielson from the lineup, police wrote in the warrant.
With the warrant in hand, police took Danielson into custody Oct. 12 at his residence on Woodridge Avenue in Murrieta.
Danielson, who was released from jail after posting $30,000 bail, hired an attorney to defend him against the charges.
"This is a 100 percent mis-identification case," said Murrieta-based attorney John Pozza, at the time. "In my 18 years defending citizens' constitutional rights I have never seen such a rush to justice with so little substance or probable cause."
Because Danielson was not arraigned while in custody, the justice system allows more time for law enforcement to file charges, which is what occurred in this case, police and the DA’s office said.
As to the DA’s ultimate decision to not bring the charges against Danielson, Conrad said “there is no doubt the District Attorney does not file all of the cases they receive from law enforcement.”
This includes many cases that are submitted after an arrest, Conrad said.
“The District Attorney makes their filing decisions, regardless of guilt, based on the likelihood they will be able to successfully prosecute an individual in a jury trial. This is the threshold the District Attorney uses when making filing decisions. This threshold is sometimes referred to as ‘Beyond a reasonable doubt,’” Conrad said.
“Police Officers and Police Detectives, on the other hand, make their arrest decisions based on probable cause. Of course, we are interested in the filing decision of the District Attorney, but that decision is out of our hands. Probable cause does not require certain or positive information that is enough to convict someone of a crime. Probable cause is the probability of criminal activity.”
Conrad said as far as Murrieta police are concerned, they have also now closed the case file on Danielson.
“Our case was completed and forwarded to the District Attorney for a filing decision,” Conrad said. “Our investigation was completed at that point and is currently closed as an arrest. There will be no further investigation on this case unless substantial information relevant to the case comes to our attention.”