Search Warrants

         Detective Rod Pena of the Henderson police department lied under oath to obtain a search warrant for my house, which he had no probable cause for. Then he seized my cellphone and searched it while I was in the Henderson jail. He had no search warrant to do so and thus violated federal and state laws. He did these things knowingly and willingly.      

          A.D.A. Tom Carroll knowingly and willingly defended Pena's actions even though he knew they were clear violations of federal and state laws. Judges Jackie Glass and Donald Mosley continued covering for Pena and Carroll's violations of federal and state laws when they denied me my right to a copy of the cellphone warrant and ignored Pena's lack of probable cause and intentional lies in the search warrant for my house. The Nevada Supreme Court completely ignored these violations in my direct appeal. If you find this all very difficult to believe, don't worry you're not alone. Continue reading for all the details and/or order copies of the search warrant, motion to suppress it and the court transcripts of that hearing. They're all public record and available to anyone who wishes to order them.

           The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is easy to find on Google so I won't quote it here. But the following are Nevada laws that, like the 4th Amendment, make it a crime to lie on a search warrant, obtain a search warrant without probable cause or search and seize property without first obtaining a search warrant. Detective Pena did all of these things and thus violated state and federal law.

             NRS 199.130 states:

             A person who makes any false or fictitious affidavit before any person authorized to administer oaths, for the purpose of securing a search warrant for the searching of premises, is guilty of perjury which is a category D felony.

              NRS 179.075 states:

              The officer taking property under the warrant shall give the person from whom the property was taken a copy of the warrant and a receipt for the property taken or shall leave the copy and receipt at the place from which the property was taken. 

             NRS 199.440 states:

             Whoever shall maliciously, and without probable cause, procure a search warrant to be issued and executed shall be deemed guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

              Nevada Criminal Law Manual (2007-2008) (pg. 27)

  1. 4.                 Property Seized

               When an officer seizes property pursuant to a warrant, the officer must give the person a copy of the search warrant. The officer should also leave a copy of the affidavit supporting the warrant, so that the person knows why the warrant was served and on what grounds it was issued.

               Nevada Criminal Law Manual (pg. LG-21)

  1. IV.           Search and Seizure

                ...in all searches, unless conducted pursuant to a warrant, are per se unreasonable, therefore unconstitutional.

                NRS 199.200 states

                   Every unqualified statement of that which one does not know to be true is equivalent to a statement of that which he knows to be false. 

         The allegations against me were that I inappropriately touched female students in my classroom at my school. No one accused me of taking elicit pictures of anyone, no one stated that I had internet contact with them, and no one had stated that they'd been to my house. There was no reason or probable cause to search my house or my computer. Yet that's exactly what Detective Pena set out to do.

         At the time he applied for a search warrant for my house and computer, Detective Pena had only one girl making accusations about me. Melissa Marcovecchio. (Click here to read about her allegations) Her allegations were that I put my hand down her shirt in my classroom and in front of other students. She made no allegations of me taking inappropriate pictures of her, that we communicated via computer, or that she'd ever been to my house. In other words, she gave Detective Pena NO probable cause for a search warrant.

            So Detective Pena took it upon himself to change information from Melissa's statement and her mother's statement to police in order to make it appear that he had probable cause for a search warrant. Detective Pena knowingly and willingly lied in order to obtain a search warrant. Here is the information he lied about. He took this information directly from the police reports, so it was no mistake. His lies made it appear that I singled out Melissa, frequented several adult pornography websites and that he had a witness to Melissa's claims. Which he did not have or he would've gotten an arrest warrant.

           “The classroom was empty with the exception of Melissa, Mr. Zana, and one other female student (unknown name).”

It was a MALE  student named Arlan. Melissa's statement to police specifically said it was a male student named Arlan. But Detective Pena wanted it to appear that I only allowed female students to help in my classroom. Even if this statement were true it doesn't constitute probable cause to search my house and computer.

            “Melissa's desk was next to Mr. Zana's...”

No it wasn't. In her written statement to police, Melissa stated that she was standing near my desk. NOTHING about her desk being next to mine, because it wasn't. Again, this does NOT constitute probable cause to search my house and/or computer even if this statement were true.

            “Melissa said that a classmate named Tyler Phillips saw the second incident.”

Again, this is NOT true. In her statement to police, Melissa wrote that she THOUGHT Tyler might have witnessed it. At the time Pena wrote this lie in the warrant he had already interviewed Tyler. Tyler stated that he had NOT witnessed anything. Even if this were a true statement, it does NOT constitute probable cause to search my house and/or computer.

            “Mr. Zana taught Melissa when she was in the first grade as well as fifth.”

I was NOT Melissa's 1st grade teacher. I only taught Melissa in 5th grade. Detective Pena knew this as it was in Mrs. Marcovecchio's written statement to police. Even if it were true, it does not constitute probable cause to search my house and/or computer.

           “In the aforementioned statements Anne stated that Zana has used email to communicate with Melissa...”

Anne (Mrs. Marcovecchio) did NOT state that I had emailed Melissa. She stated that I emailed with their neighbors. It's funny how Detective Pena made reference to “the aforementioned statements” from which he got all of his information for the warrant. Except he changed the information in a blatant attempt to prejudice the judge against me. A desperate attempt to get a search warrant that he knew he had no probable cause for.

            “The affiant asked Zana if he had visited any adult web sites (porn sites) and Zana advised that he had.”

            “That the above statements indicate that Zana is aware of adult sites on the web, that he visits those sites...”

Again, this is NOT true. I stated that, on occasion, I visit ONE adult porn site. Here Detective Pena deliberately made it appear that I frequented multiple adult web sites. Like the other statements Pena lied about, even if these were true they do NOT constitute probable cause to search my house and/or computer.

              “Zana may have video recordings or photographs of Melissa and other possible victims.”

Detective Pena had no basis for this assumption. NO ONE stated that I had taken videos of them and NO ONE stated that I had taken explicit pictures of anyone. Detective Pena simply fabricated this information because he KNEW he did NOT have probable cause for a search warrant. This wasn't a statement of fact, it was pure fiction with no facts to support it.

               Detective Pena lied on the search warrant affidavit he submitted and subsequently lied under oath to the judge he submitted it to in order to get a search warrant he knew he had no probable cause for. All of the information that Pena knowingly and willingly changed was done so in a clear effort to prejudice the judge against me and make it appear that he had probable cause when he knew he did not. Detective Pena swore under oath that all of the information in the warrant was true and correct. He lied. And that is perjury. A Category D felony.

             When I submitted a motion to suppress the search warrant before trial, Judge Jackie Glass denied it without providing me my right to a Frank's Hearing. (Franks vs. Delaware) Why did she do that? Because, had I gotten the Frank's Hearing  I was entitled to, I would have gotten to question Detective Pena on the record and under oath about all of his lies in the search warrant and the fact that he never obtained a search warrant for my cellphone. So Judge Glass protected Pena and covered up his violations when she denied me a Frank's Hearing. The Nevada Supreme Court never even addressed this issue in my appeal because they had no legal standing to rule against it.

             Next, Detective Pena seized and searched my cell phone while I was in the Henderson jail. I know this to be true because, when I left the jail, my cellphone was missing and a receipt was left behind by Detective Pena. It stated that he had taken my cell phone to search and he was awaiting the search warrant for it. I requested a copy of the search warrant from A.D.A. Tom Carroll several times and was never given one.

             In Judge Mosley's courtroom my attorney again requested a copy of the search warrant for my cell phone. Tom Carroll told Judge Mosley they found nothing on my cell phone that they would be using at trial and didn't feel they needed to provide me with a copy of the warrant. This proved that Detective Pena DID search my phone and the fact that the D.A. didn't want to provide me with a copy of the search warrant meant that there was NO search warrant ever obtained for my phone. This is further proof of Detective Pena's total disregard for the law and A.D.A. Tom Carroll's complicity in covering up for Pena's illegalities.

           Worse still, Judge Donald Mosley ruled that I would NOT be getting a copy of the search warrant. A direct violation of the 4th Amendment and several Nevada laws.

           All of this shows the lengths that Detective Pena, A.D.A. Tom Carroll, District Judges Donald Mosley and Jackie Glass went to in an effort to pervert the law and Nevada's Justice system. They all did these things knowingly and willingly to protect each other and try to force me into accepting a plea deal. The Nevada Supreme court didn't even address this issue in my appeal. The Nevada Justice system is broken. I'm now headed to the Federal courts with the hope that they have the integrity to rule impartially, unbiased and according to the law. Something Nevada's Justice system chose not to do.