Defense attorney seeks new trial

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers

The defense attorney for a 31-year-old Clovis man convicted of first-degree murder contends his client’s rights were violated when police recorded his phone conversations from jail without his knowledge, according to court records.

James Klipstine Jr. filed a six-page motion Thursday in the 9th Judicial District Court asking for a new trial for Robert Macias. Klipstine argued in court documents the recordings were used as evidence against Macias without a warrant, violating Macias’ constitutional rights against search and seizure, that prosecutors did not prove Macias was properly made aware his conversations were being recorded, and that conversations between others who were discussing the shooting were hearsay and should not have been admitted before the jury.

Macias was convicted Jan. 30 of shooting and killing 19-year-old Wilfred Salas Jr. a year ago as he drove his car on Merriwether Street.

Audio recordings the prosecution said involved coded conversations in an effort to cover up the homicide and collaborate stories were played at the trial.

District Attorney Matt Chandler said the motion is standard in a homicide case.

“Those were arguments that the defense attorney made throughout the course of the trial,” said Chandler, who prosecuted the case. “The judge found through trial that those arguments were without merit.”

Prosecutors will prepare a response to the motion in the next couple of weeks, he said.

“In our response we will state that the State respects the jury’s decision, and ask the court to deny the motion as we have in the past on other homicide cases,” Chandler said.