Ex-Fullerton officer’s bid to prevent trial in man’s death denied

An appeals court has denied an attempt by ex-Fullerton police Officer Miguel Ramos to have charges against him dismissed. He is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with schizophrenia.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

An appeals court Thursday denied a last-ditch attempt by one of two former Fullerton police officers accused in the death of Kelly Thomas to prevent the case going to trial.

Former Officer Manuel Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force in the July 2011 beating death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with a history of schizophrenia.

A third officer, Joseph Wolfe, was indicted in September, a year after the others, on charges of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force. Three other officers involved in the confrontation with Thomas were not charged.


Ramos and Cicinelli asked an Orange County Superior Court judge to dismiss the charges against them, arguing that they acted within their authority. The judge denied the motion in January. Ramos then appealed the decision, but the appeals court denied his challenge.

Ramos’ attorney, John Barnett, could not be reached for comment.

Cicinelli and Ramos are scheduled to go on trial June 28. Wolfe is slated to appear at a pretrial conference March 29.

The case is the first time in modern Orange County history that a police officer has been charged with murder for actions taken on duty.