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In 2003, defendants Jose Luis Alvarez, and Kim Marugg, (at the time known as Kim Alvarez) pled guilty to charges they had defrauded the State Compensation Insurance Fund. At the time, Alvarez and Marugg were husband and wife and operated Alverez Construction Company. Some of the workers were paid in cash by an intermediary and as a result SCIF was not paid workers’ compensation premium.

Marugg later claimed that, although she “was not guilty of the charges and . . . insistent on moving forward to trial,” she nonetheless pled guilty in December 2003 because the plea agreement “sounded like a sound financial decision.”

Marugg and Alvarez separated in February 2003; and began dissolution of marriage proceedings in 2004. She then married the prosecutor in her criminal case after she and the prosecutor began a personal relationship on some undisclosed date. The prosecutor died in October 2013, while they were still married.

Marugg testified she had ‘since learned’ that, at time she pled guilty in 2003, her criminal defense counsel was colluding with Jose Luis Alvarez’s family law attorney. and her criminal conviction had an adverse effect on her community property rights.

In January 2007, Marugg started her court battled and filed what she calls a “Petition for Expungement” of the conviction, seeking relief under Penal Code sections 1203.4 and 1203.4a which was taken off calendar and not resolved.

In November 2009, Marugg discovered another woman who previously had been prosecuted by the same deputy district attorney, and with whom the prosecutor later engaged in a romantic relationship. This other woman’s story was “almost identical” to Marugg’s.

This woman complained to the district attorney’s office, and at some point during the August – October 2010 time period, the office commenced an internal affairs investigation of the prosecutor. During the investigation, Marugg learned that the prosecutor had engaged in “personal” and “romantic” relationships with other defendants he had prosecuted, as well as one of the principal witnesses, the SCIF investigator, whom the prosecutor had presented to the grand jury in May 2002 in his effort to indict Defendants.

After the investigation, in May 2011, the superior court ruled in favor of this other woman, finding in her case “that there have been substantial irregularities in the prosecution of this case, of which the court was unaware until this petition, that undermine the lawfulness of defendant’s conviction.”

In September 2011, at Marugg’s request, the prosecuting deputy district attorney (who, by this time, was Marugg’s husband) provided Marugg with a declaration that she submitted to the State Bar of California as part of a complaint she filed against the defense attorney who represented her at the time she pled guilty and was sentenced in 2003. In part, the prosecutor testified that, as early as 2002, he knew that “[Marugg] was not the guilty party.”

A year later, in September 2012, Marugg wrote a letter to the district attorney, asking that the People stipulate to allow Marugg to withdraw her plea. The People declined Marugg’s request in an October 2012 letter.

After gaining information in 2015 regarding what Marugg considered to be criminal behavior of one of the SCIF investigators who testified before the grand jury in May 2002, Marugg requested and obtained copies of all of the state’s records from its investigation into the activities of Alvarez Construction that led to the grand jury evidence, the indictment, and the convictions. She received the initial documents in July 2015 and retained a forensic accounting firm in November 2015.

In 2016, Marugg filed petitions for writs of error coram nobis and section 1473.7 motions to vacate her convictions. Much of Marugg’s January 2017 testimony attempts to impeach evidence presented to the grand jury in May 2002. Marugg denied portions of witnesses’ grand jury testimony, presented evidence that she contended contradicted grand jury evidence, and identified facts that she believed discredited grand jury witnesses.

Based on what she found, Marugg testified that her criminal defense attorney “completely failed to identify and present evidence that exonerated [her] as well as failed to challenge by way of motions false evidence that was presented to the Grand Jury and challenge the prosecutor’s failure to present exonerating evidence to the Grand Jury.”

The trial court denied the requested relief. The Court of Appeal gave her a second chance in the unpublished case of People v  Marugg I (2018).

Since the trial court procedurally failed to hold a hearing as statutorily required and timely requested by Marugg before ruling on Marugg’s section 1473.7 motion. The case was remanded in 2018 for that purpose.

Subsequently, the trial court made procedural errors in resolving her claims even after her successful appeal. The case was again remanded back to the trial court to hold an evidentiary hearing, and specify a basis for its ruling in the unpublished case of People v Marugg II  (2021).