A Merced County sheriff's lieutenant testified Tuesday that a prosecutor with the state Attorney General's Office — not sheriff's detectives — gave the go-ahead to arrest District Attorney Larry Morse's son on a murder charge in July 2014.
But Lt. Charles "Chuck' Hale admitted on the witness stand that he never met with prosecutor Barton Bowers before Ethan Morse's arrest or go over the evidence in detail with Bowers.
Hale also conceded that Bowers only had the case for two days before Morse was arrested, and that the decision to take Morse into custody came during a telephone conversation with Bowers.
In U.S. District Court in Fresno, Morse, 21, has accused Hale and detectives Erick Macias and Jose Sam Sanchez of violating his civil rights by maliciously or recklessly lying to a judge to get a warrant for his arrest.
Morse spent nearly four months in jail before Merced County Superior Court Judge Ronald Hansen in November 2014 declared him factually innocent of the murder charge and freed him from jail.