Next in Silva case: Kern County District Attorney reviews case

DA: 'We are not a rubber stamp of any dept.'

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - 33-year-old David Silva died after being beaten by Kern County deputies May 8. But the Coroner has ruled that's not what caused his death.

Many are left to wonder what's next in the case. 

Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green said her office will do an independent review of the Sheriff's Office case.

"I felt that an independent review was important," said Green.  "I am the Chief Law Enforcement in Kern County and I think the citizens of this county look to me to do justice."

One of the questions is whether the DA can challenge the autopsy results.

"I can recall one case that I was personally involved in that we did dispute the pathologist's findings in Kern County and sought an opinion of a different pathologist out of San Diego County," said Green.

The Coroner's Office is under the Sheriff's authority and some have asked if that could have impacted the autopsy results.

"It's called confirmation bias," said Criminal Defense Attorney Kyle Humphrey.  "It's a term that means people who work in a particular field have tunnel vision for that field."

Some have also asked if there is a conflict in having the DA review the Sheriff.

The District Attorney says even though she works with the Sheriff's Office everyday on cases, she will not be pressured by anyone.

There's also the question of whether the deputies could still be disciplined or criminally charged.

"It sounds like from what the Sheriff had to say was that everything was within policy so the Sheriff has tied his own hands," said Humphrey.  "He can't take a job action against somebody he has patted on the back and said you did the job correctly."

Sheriff Donny Youngblood said yesterday the deputies involved in the Silva incident will return to duty soon.

Humphrey said local charges are unlikely but if the FBI finds civil rights violations, federal charges are possible.

"The FBI is actually reviewing for violations of civil rights," said Green. "We review for violations of California State Law [and] the purposes are a little bit different."

Green said for now she is asking for the public's patience.

"Hopefully they have faith in the integrity of this office," said Green. "We are not a rubber stamp of any police department or sheriff department in Kern County and we will do our best to provide a truthful and accurate answer."

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