June 28, 2005: Headlines: COS - Peru: Sports: Soccer: Crime: San Francisco Chronicle: Ex-coach stalling, says prosecutor

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Peru: Peace Corps Peru: The Peace Corps in Peru: November 27, 2004: Headlines: COS - Peru: Sports: Soccer: Crime: San Francisco Chronicle: Peru RPCV Bruce Greenlee reaches out after Soccer attack : June 28, 2005: Headlines: COS - Peru: Sports: Soccer: Crime: San Francisco Chronicle: Ex-coach stalling, says prosecutor

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Ex-coach stalling, says prosecutor

Ex-coach stalling, says prosecutor

Alvarez has been accused to punching and kicking 59-year-old Bruce Greenlee (RPCV Peru) at exactly the time when a wave of concern about behavior at sports events -- both at professional and kids' games -- has swept the country. Greenlee has been active in the Hispanic community in Richmond for 30 years and helped found the Richmond soccer club.

Ex-coach stalling, says prosecutor

Ex-coach stalling, says prosecutor

C.W. Nevius

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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Mauricio Alvarez's former attorney says he's finally starting to get it. I'm not so sure.

When she worked for the former Richmond youth soccer coach, Angela Greene kept trying to tell him that his alleged attack on soccer referee Bruce Greenlee last year was a high-profile case.

"I don't think he got it,'' says Greene, whom Alvarez fired this spring. "I think he appreciates it now.''

Alvarez's next court date is July 6, and he is running out of options. He's tried all manner of defenses against the charges he faces -- battery against a sports official and battery on the grounds of a school or park -- including racism and mistaken identity.

He has shown up late for court and without an attorney. He hired Greene, then released her. Earlier this month he missed a court appearance and so annoyed Superior Court Judge Carol Brosnahan that she threatened to issue a bench warrant.

It seems pretty clear what the plan is.

"He's dragging his feet,'' says Alameda Deputy District Attorney John Creighton. "That's how it looks to me.''

This isn't unusual. Rafael Vasquez, who is handling the case for the district attorney's office, is perfectly familiar with how this works. Defendants stall and stall, sometimes dragging proceedings out to a year or more, hoping that it will all go away.

Here's a tip. This isn't going away.

Vasquez says at the hearing next week they are going to get Alvarez's attorney situation straightened out (there is now some question about whether the public defender will represent him) and they are going to move toward a jury trial. In other words, this is serious.

Alvarez has been accused to punching and kicking the 59-year-old Greenlee at exactly the time when a wave of concern about behavior at sports events -- both at professional and kids' games -- has swept the country.

When Greenlee was pummeled on Nov. 20 of last year (the referee had the temerity to ask for the required player passes from Alvarez's Cabritos soccer team of 8- and 9-year-olds) it became a national story.

"This,'' says Creighton, "is an issue apart from Bruce Greenlee. This is an important, community-wide issue.''

Of course, Alvarez is innocent until proven guilty. But Greene says the case is starting to look more and more like a slam dunk for the district attorney. Alvarez's defenses, which have ranged from the odd to the improbable, have slowly unraveled.

Greene left the case soon after Alvarez brought in his witnesses, who were supposed to testify that the coach had nothing to do with the attack. Instead, Greene says, the best they could come up with was that they didn't see anything.

"Which was totally unhelpful,'' Greene says. "Some of them were sounding unbelievable. They were saying they didn't even hear about the incident for two weeks. Does that sound logical? And Mauricio wouldn't give me their addresses or phone numbers. It wasn't looking good.''

Greene persisted, but apparently she was asking too many difficult questions. Soon after the interview with the witnesses, Alvarez said he wanted another attorney, one fluent in Spanish.

At this point, Alvarez may be represented by a public defender. If so, we'd like to wish him or her the best of luck. Here are a couple of suggestions:

If Alvarez suggests that a good defense would be that Greenlee is racially biased against Hispanics and only checked the player passes of his team, you might want to look into that. Greene says Alvarez and his friends floated those ideas and she used them as the beginning of her defense.

Apparently, Alvarez forgot to mention that Greenlee has been active in the Hispanic community in Richmond for 30 years and helped found the Richmond soccer club. Also, it was quickly established that he checked the passes of both teams.

Second, you might want to be careful of the mistaken identity defense. Not only has Greenlee said that he is 100 percent certain Alvarez was the man who assaulted him, but he says bystanders took photos of the coach leaving the field after that attack.

The one of him flipping a middle-finger salute at the camera should play especially well in court.

"Those photographs didn't help him at all,'' says Creighton. "Especially the one with his finger up in the air.''

Greenlee doesn't want to talk much about the case these days. He never intended to become the star of his own reality show. He was just volunteering to ref some soccer games.

But here's the real irony. Greenlee doesn't want to see the book thrown at Alvarez. Now that Alvarez has irritated the judge, annoyed the district attorney's office and stalled until the case against him has grown stronger, he could get some serious jail time. Maybe as much as a year.

Greenlee hopes that won't happen. He'd rather avoid a trial and have Alvarez serve a couple of weekends in jail. He'd even be willing so skip the apology.

All he really wants is for Alvarez to admit that he did it. In other words, he's asking Alvarez to be a stand-up guy.

Instead of acting like the kind of guy who would punch a ref over a soccer game for 9-year-olds.

C.W. Nevius' column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in the Bay Area section and on Fridays in East Bay Life. E-mail him at cwnevius@sfchronicle.com.

When this story was posted in June 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: San Francisco Chronicle

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Peru; Sports; Soccer; Crime


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