Riders jury selection begins

Daily Planet Wire Service
Wednesday May 29, 2002

OAKLAND — Defense attorneys and Alameda County prosecutors today are scheduled to begin their search for a jury that will sit in what is believed to be the largest case of alleged criminal police misconduct in Oakland's history. 

Jude Siapno, Clarence Mabanag and Matthew Hornung are accused of conspiring to beat suspects, falsify evidence and other acts as they patrolled West Oakland late at night in what come to be known as the "Riders'' case. 

The officers have pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and their attorneys have said in court that the officers were only following orders from police officials that they should be tough on drugs. 

Earlier this year, defense attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have the proceedings moved outside of Oakland, arguing that the extensive pretrial media coverage that the case received will make it impossible to get an impartial panel of jurors. They indicated that they may try to get the case moved out of Alameda County again during the jury selection process. 

The suspected ringleader of the "Riders,'' Frank Vazquez, fled  

soon after the case broke and remains at large.