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SAN JOSE — A defense lawyer on Friday asked a superior court judge to throw out the manslaughter indictment of a state narcotics agent, saying the prosecutor on the case had been overzealous. Defense attorney Craig Brown, a San Jose solo representing narcotics agent Michael Walker, claimed that Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Lane Liroff had acted as an adversary in what is supposed to be an impartial process — a grand jury proceeding. Brown said Liroff was a “prosecutor with an agenda,” adding that “everything he did was designed to get an indictment.” Liroff was not at the hearing. But in an interview Friday he essentially pleaded guilty as charged. “When I present a case to a grand jury, I don’t act as a distant party,” he said. “I work on behalf of the DA’s office. If I think the case is appropriate for indictment, there is nothing wrong with presenting it that way.” Walker is charged with voluntary manslaughter for allegedly shooting Rodolfo “Rudy” Cardenas in the back after a chase through downtown San Jose last winter. Walker, who was indicted after a public grand jury hearing last summer, claims he mistook Cardenas for a fugitive parolee. The proceeding was only the third open grand jury in county history. Defense attorney Brown has filed a motion to dismiss with Superior Court Judge Edward Lee. On Friday he said Liroff should have asked jurors if they wanted to hear additional witnesses, among them a police psychologist and an expert on officer-involved shootings. He said Liroff was “willfully determined” not to present certain evidence, and inflammatory in his rhetoric before the jurors. “When you realize that there were a number of occasions [during the grand jury] that the DA described the evidence as a ‘Keystone Kops’ scenario, we have to ask what that does to Mike Walker and if there was a body of evidence presented that was prejudicial,” Brown said. Liroff downplayed the criticisms Friday, saying it would have been improper to call those witnesses and that he was simply doing his job. “Mr. Brown’s complaints derive from the fact that his client behaved unprofessionally and irresponsibly, and he wished it was different,” he said. Liroff was represented in court Friday by Deputy District Attorney Neal Kimball. He said he thought that was the “appropriate” decision given that his handling of the case has been criticized. The veteran homicide prosecutor has clashed with other attorneys during his prosecution of the Walker case. Last fall, he won an argument with the state Department of Justice regarding the release of personnel records of officers involved in the case.

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