Judge Denies Prosecution Motion for Sanctions; Marsh Trial to Begin Monday

Davis-Murder-3
Crime scene in spring of 2013 where the victims were discovered in Davis

Daniel Marsh will go to trial starting on Monday, facing charges that he committed a double murder in the spring of 2013. Judge David Reed cleared the way for the trial as he denied motions by the prosecution team, led by Assistant Chief Deputy DA Michael Cabral and Deputy DA Amanda Zambor, that the defense withheld discoverable evidence until days before the trial was set to begin.

DDA Zambor argued on Friday that they believe there were discovery violations based on reports and accounts provided to defense doctors that were not given to the People. She cited that the People were missing 288 pages of documents that were finally turned over on Tuesday at 3 pm, six days before the trial.

These included an MRI report, mental health records from Kaiser South that were subpoenaed by the People but not received by the subpoena process, and a number of other documents that the People say need to be turned over.

“We believe that he did something unethical and needs to be sanctioned,” Ms. Zambor stated as she requested monetary sanctions from defense counsel, Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson, as well as a separate Evidence Code section 402 hearing, in which they wished to get statements from the family doctor.

Ron Johnson countered that he had turned over most of the material to the People even though, in many cases, the documents were not discoverable. He also made a written and formal request that the “court should admonish the District Attorney’s office to refrain from making negative assertions regarding defense counsel’s motives in publicly filed briefing. These assertions may constitute misconduct and may have the effect of negatively portraying defense counsel in the media, which could jeopardize Daniel Marsh’s ability to receive a fair trial.”

Judge Reed did not rule on whether this had occurred, however, he admonished both sides not to impugn the motives of the other side.

On June 2, 2014, Mr. Marsh entered a change of plea to Not Guilty and Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity in the double-homicide case from Davis, where two prominent individuals were found murdered in their own home on Cowell Blvd. in South Davis.

The People, in addition to requesting statements of reports of an expert witness, requested “several items of discovery” that defense counsel claims “do not exist,” which include supporting materials such as raw notes, test results, un-redacted statements of the defendant, statements by other family members, friends or other witnesses that were turned over to the defense expert for reference, and any other materials relied upon or considered by the expert.

Mr. Johnson argued that “although not required to do so by order or pursuant to Penal Code 1054.3,” the defense voluntarily provided a number of the items requested by the People.

Mr. Johnson also noted, “The vast majority of these documents were already in the possession of the District Attorney as they have subpoenaed records from each of the holders of the records that were disclosed.”

Ms. Zambor would counter that, although they had subpoenaed the records, they were not turned over. Mr. Johnson responded that he had assumed that the People got the same records he did, and when he realized they had not, on Tuesday he sent over the remainder of the documents.

As Mr. Johnson noted in his response motion, “Following the entry of a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity plea, the People elected to be the collector and provider of relevant documents to the court appointed doctors, and were in the process of gathering all information relevant to disclose for the evaluation.

“The People informed defense counsel of the records that they were going to subpoena, which included all of the records previously gathered by the defense. Defense counsel suggested a stipulation allowing the People to go directly to court to retrieve subpoena documents to avoid the delay of waiting for court appearances to collect documents, and such agreement was reached.”

Judge Reed would largely rule for the defense. He noted that the MRI was provided by the defense even though it was not required. The People, he said, relied on a case precedent that was not applicable to a pretrial discovery issue.

He also noted that the defense was not required to turn over what testing had been performed on the defendant.

Judge Reed noted that the oral and written report by the family’s doctor was not turned over within the 30-day period before the trial, however, it was provided to the People once the defense received it. He noted that this was a discovery violation but he reserved the right for sanctions – in this case he argued monetary sanctions would not be appropriate, but the defense may lose the right to use the information; however, it is likely a moot point.

He also noted that there was no evidence that the defendant was given some of the tests requested by the People – and even if they had been given, they were not discoverable.

The People’s request for a EC section 402 hearing was denied. Defense attorney Ron Johnson argued that the People were trying to use a 402 hearing improperly – normally a 402 hearing is used to determine the question of the admissibility of evidence out of the presence or hearing of the jury. In this case, Mr. Johnson argued they were attempting to use a 402 hearing to determine what the doctor would testify to.

The People argued to have the 402 hearing prior to jury selection – Judge Reed denied it absolutely before the jury selection, and tentatively ruled against it after jury selection, as well.

Daniel Marsh is accused of stabbing Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife, Claudia Maupin, 76, in April of 2013. As stated, he has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and faces life in prison if convicted.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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9 Comments

  1. tj

    This prosecution is such a waste of everyone’s time and money. Just put Marsh in a mental hospital for a good long time and see that he gets the medications he needs, and needed before people died. Shame on the doctors who failed Marsh and everyone else.

  2. Biddlin

    Yes, those damned MDs, who weren’t clever enough to find and somehow force him to take a correct regime of medication and head-off this tragedy. Oh, what about his parents and other family members, shouldn’t we hold them accountable, too? Anyone else we can smear by tangential association?
    But, unfortunately we live under the rule of law and that precludes vigilantes, preachers, bankers and blatherskites from arbitrarily deciding anyone’s fate. Best case scenario, this young creature will be securely housed and closely observed for the rest of his days.
    ;>)/

    1. Barack Palin

      Biddlin, even though we’re usually on opposite sides of the political spectrum I must admit you’ve greatly increased my vocabulary.

      blath-er-skite

      [blath -er-skahyt] Spell Syllables

      Word Origin

      noun
      1.
      a person given to voluble, empty talk.

      2.
      nonsense; blather.

  3. Tia Will

    “Judge Reed did not rule on whether this had occurred, however, he admonished both sides not to impugn the motives of the other side.”

    If we were to abandon our adversarial system we would eliminate any need for such an admonishment as well as the time taken for the opposing sides to posture and jostle for position.

  4. Biddlin

    I ask Tia, because I remember a time, only a few decades past, when minors were protected by a system that could lock them in mental institutions on the word of parents and their helpful family physician. My friend Julian was committed by his father for having “homosexual fantasies,” after reporting being sexually assaulted by dear old dad to the family physician, who responsibly asked dad,”Does he make up this kind of thing often?” “Oh yes, he seems to think everyone is interested in violating him.”
    In 1967, that was good enough to get him committed by the General Practitioner.
    The report, of course, was true. The abuses that occurred in the State mental hospital were worse. Being a minor in those days, meant that he had no rights to a hearing before a real judge. He ultimately “escaped” and went underground in Haight-Ashbury and later Davis, until reaching the age of majority.
    ;>)/

  5. Biddlin

    Julian had a rich life, though never entirely free of this experience. He never trusted medical doctors again, passing away in his early 50s, from a congenital disorder.

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