HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Probable cause court is the first stop for everyone who gets arrested.
“You don’t try these cases in P.C. court. You just make a decision on whether the officer had probable cause and he did,” said Houston Police Union President Joe Gamaldi.
The police officer’s union believes probable cause court magistrate Lionel Castro, who is not an elected judge, was wrong to dismiss charges against 23-year-old Daleon Potts and 20-year-old Johnathan Williams.
On June 14, an HPD officer pulled Potts over for a defective brake light. Williams was his passenger.
“One is an aggravated robber convicted and the other person is on bond for murder,” Gamaldi said. “These are not good people.”
According to an assistant D.A., after Potts told the officer he had no driver’s license or proof of insurance, the officer asked Williams for an I.D. and he gave false information.
“Defendant Williams stated he lied about his name and date of birth because he’s currently on bond for murder,” an assistant D.A. can be heard telling Castro in a tape of the probable cause hearing.
Since neither man could legally drive the car away, police inventoried it and found a backpack behind the passenger’s seat.
“The backpack contained a black gun case that contained a fully loaded .38 Revolver with a serial number partially scratched off,” the prosecutor said during the hearing.
Potts, who had just been paroled from prison, was charged with felon in possession of a firearm, a felony.
Williams was charged with failure to identify to a police officer, a misdemeanor.
While police and prosecutors felt the charges were warranted, Castro didn’t think so.
He gave no specific reasons as to why during the probable cause court hearing.
He can be heard telling both men there’s no probable cause for the charges and they are free to go.
“It’s completely beyond me who thinks this is acceptable?” Gamaldi said.
We contacted defense attorney Lionel Castro for his reason for dismissing the cases.
He told us judicial rules prohibit him from commenting.
The D.A.’s office obviously believes the cases should proceed.
Prosecutors have re-filed the charge against Williams and are continuing to investigate Pott’s case.