Stephanie Mendoza was presented with the award at noon today at The Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells, California.
Ms. Mendoza was recognized for her bravery in aiding the Santa Barbara Police Department and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office as she surreptitiously audio taped a relative twice as he confessed to torturing a homeless woman in Santa Barbara. Stephanie Mendoza’s courage was again tested when she was asked to testify against the relative, amidst her own internal discomfort and external threats.
As a result of Ms. Mendoza’s actions the defendant, Samuel Martinez, Jr., was convicted of torture and is now serving a life sentence in prison.
The Patricia Lewis Witness of the Year Award was presented to Ms. Stephanie Mendoza by Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley, who stated, “Without the courage, strength and strong moral compass of Ms. Mendoza, this crime could have remained unsolved and justice would not have been served.”