A sense of annoyance was implicitly conveyed by Judge David Rosenberg this morning in Department Four at the Yolo County courthouse, as he denied the defense’s motion that the jury trial of Leona Jull be moved from its current date to a later date. After five motions to continue, he said that a jury trial scheduled for Monday should simply not be delayed.
Judge Rosenberg first quashed several subpoenas as requested by the People, represented today by DDA Jennifer McHugh. The defense, represented by Robbin Coker, had requested 11 items in subpoena. For four out of the eleven items, only parts of the subpoena were quashed, and parts of the subpoena went forward. The other seven subpoenas were quashed in their entirety.
However, the judge expressed his displeasure when it came to Coker’s motion to continue the jury trial, currently scheduled to begin Monday. Coker asserted that she needed more time to review documents that had just become available, at which point the prosecution stated that the documents in question had always been available. Coker denied this, saying that she had to review 30 new pages of documents since July 7 and a brand new statement just made available yesterday.
Judge Rosenberg described the motion’s three grounds, as he understood them. First, the defense was not prepared. Second, the defense had just subpoenaed new documents. Third, the death of the mother of the defendant’s significant other meant that next week would not be a good time for a trial.
The judge denied the motion on the first two grounds. The charges against Jull had been filed August 9, 2013. The defense had presented no less than five motions to continue, all granted. As the judge saw it, the defense has had plenty of time to prepare itself. However, he said the court could move the trial date if there were a funeral scheduled for next week. Coker pressed the motion on the third ground, saying that some of the witnesses in the case were the significant other’s children, and were related to the mother of the defendant’s significant other. Furthermore, the defendant and her significant other had been in a long-term relationship. As Coker presented it, the witnesses were in effect Jull’s stepchildren. A trial at this point would thus affect the witnesses in the trial.
Judge Rosenberg was unfazed and the motion to continue was denied. The Trial Readiness Conference (TRC) proceeded, but Coker reiterated that she was not ready and her client was not prepared. This did not move the judge, who explained that in his eleven years of service, he had not yet granted a 6th motion to continue. Today was not the day that changed.
As part of trial readiness, Coker explained that the trial might not take five days. The judge asked why, given Coker’s statements it would be a five-day trial. Coker explained that there were 27 witnesses involved. The trial would take eight days, possibly even nine. McHugh at this point spoke up, saying that the prosecution had not been told of these witnesses, and thus they should be rejected for late discovery. The judge did not get rid of these witnesses in any way. The prosecution also pointed out that many of the witnesses were needed only for verifying documents, which could be accomplished by stipulation. However, the defense chose not to use this stipulation and elected to have the witnesses come in person, as is their right. However, this meant that this verification would not take a long time. Priding himself on efficacy, Judge Rosenberg stated that he could preside over trials faster than others, to the effect of accomplishing five-day trials in three days. This trial was set for five days, to begin on Monday, July 21, at 8:30.
Court records show that on January 31, the TRC was scheduled for May 23 and the jury trial for May 27. However on February 25, the TRC was moved to July 18 and the jury trial to July 21. This means that, aside from defense motions to continue preliminary hearings, the scheduled jury trial had already been delayed once.