Mercedes Carrera Trial Postponed Again, Amidst COVID Concerns
Monday, June 29, 2020
The pretrial hearing in the Mercedes Carrera criminal case concerning
multiple child sexual abuse charges against her and her husband — which
was supposed to happen tomorrow morning at the Rancho Cucamonga
courthouse in San Bernardino County, California — has been postponed,
once again, until July 20.
The pretrial hearing, the crucial date that would determine the jury
selection process and the date of the beginning of the actual trial, has
already been postponed several times, most recently sometime before May
1, when it was re-scheduled for tomorrow.
Carrera and her husband Jason Whitney were arrested after a police raid of their Rancho Cucamonga home on February 1, 2019.
Carrera and Whitney have been in county jail without trial for almost
17 months, first without bail and later, after they had liquidated
their assets and had no source of income due to their incarceration,
with bail set at $2 million for each.
The new date of July 20 — like the previous postponement — was entered at some point in the court records.
A document shows the hearing to set the new date took place June 6,
with Carrera being present in custody, and with a different District
Attorney, Laura Fragoso, and a different public defender, Brandon Lu,
subbing for Carrera’s long-time lawyer Joshua Castro.
Previous postponements had been requested by Carrera's public
defender and Whitney's pro bono attorney, who are coordinating their
Proceedings at the Rancho Cucamonga courthouse, which XBIZ was
covering closely, have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it
is unclear whether hearings are occurring in person, via
videoconferencing or through electronic filing.
Public Defender Castro has not given press updates since the start of the pandemic.
Carrera last spoke with XBIZ in early May, when she phoned from the
Central Detention Center in San Bernardino. Inmates cannot be visited or
receive phone calls. The only way to contact inmates is via paper
letter, or by waiting for them to make a phone call.
Carrera told XBIZ she was resigned to spending several additional
months in legal limbo at the jail. She said that “COVID is in the floor
upstairs,” where inmates are housed “without proper social distancing.”
She also explained that, according to courthouse word of mouth, inmates
are discouraged from applying for early release because of COVID
concerns because “some people who asked for early release or lowering of
their bail, were actually given [an] increased bail.”
Two weeks ago, the Victor Valley News (VVN) reported another increase in San Bernardino County jail inmates who had tested positive for COVID-19.
Of the 19 new cases, the VVN reported that “three inmates are at the
High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto, three are at the West Valley
Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, seven are at the Glen Helen
Rehabilitation Center and six are at the Central Detention Center in San
By June 13, according to the paper, a total of 100 County jail inmates had tested positive for COVID-19.
An unusual coincidence in Carrera’s situation, which she brought to
the attention of XBIZ several times, is that one of the doctors in
charge of the health care and certification of the prisoners happens to
be one of her estranged ex-husbands (not the father of her daughter).