Information on any date El Centro Mayor Edgard Garcia may have to appear in court in connection with his recent arrest was unavailable the week of May 27.
Efforts to learn if there is a court date became ensnarled in a jumble of red tape even though it would have been recorded in official documents that should be available to the public.
Garcia was stopped May 7 by El Centro police on suspicion of driving under the influence hours after a city council meeting. He was arrested, cited and released.
Such citations in which a suspect is released commonly include a date to appear in court.
Police submitted a report on the matter to the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office on May 10. Three days later local prosecutors referred it to the California Attorney General Office due to a potential conflict of interest. Garcia opposed District Attorney Gilbert Otero in a 2018 election.
Repeated efforts to learn of a court date for Garcia from El Centro police, the El Centro city manager's office, Imperial County Superior Court, Attorney’s General’s office and the District Attorney’s office were all unsuccessful.
A court official said obtaining the court date would require having the citation number or case number, neither of which was available from any of the agencies contacted.
Gabrielle Magana, a deputy press officer for the Attorney General's office, also stated that to obtain a court date the case number had to be provided.
Magana said she would attempt to retrieve information on a possible court date despite not having a case number. She did not respond again by this newspaper’s deadline.
Garcia has previously declined to comment on the specifics of his arrest.