By Pavan Potti
WOODLAND – When the case of the People v. Francisco Ponce and Sergio Gamino was called in Yolo County Superior Court late last week, Ponce’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez-Vazquez, didn’t hesitate to tell Judge David Rosenberg that he had some major issues to discuss about the case.
It soon became apparent that at the root of Gonzalez’s concern was Rob Gorman, the defense attorney representing Gamino.
In fact, Gonzalez-Vazquez claimed that Gorman’s appointment to Gamino’s defense not only was unwarranted, but also put Gonzalez-Vazquez and his client at a disadvantage because he believed Gorman to potentially be in possession of inside information that could hurt his client, Ponce.
As both defendants looked on via Zoom (both are currently at the Merced Detention Center), Gonzalez-Vazquez was visibly concerned with how the case was unfolding for his client.
Informing Judge Rosenberg that he had two major concerns, Gonzalez-Vazquez first noted he didn’t like the two cases being joined and tried as one. He stated that the major evidence against Ponce came from a conversation between a law enforcement officer and Gamino—a conversation in which the latter hadn’t even uttered Ponce’s name.
Gonzalez-Vazquez’s more serious concern, however, was with Gorman.
Gonzalez claimed that it was unfair for Gamino to be represented by the same counsel (Gorman) who prosecuted Ponce as a Yolo County Deputy District Attorney a few years ago, and is the reason why Ponce is currently on probation for gang affiliations.
According to Gonzalez-Vazquez, appointing a counsel—especially a former prosecutor—who has prior knowledge of his client makes it very likely that Gorman has inside information against Ponce. Gonzalez emphasized to Judge Rosenberg how he believed it was “very serious.”
In response to Gonzalez-Vazquez’s claims, Gorman denied the possibility of having “inside” information through his previous experience with Ponce.
Judge Rosenberg, who patiently listened to both sides, was quick to conclude that Gonzalez-Vazquez had brought up valid concerns regarding the case. Rosenberg said the motion opposing consolidation was well taken.
The preliminary hearing for Francisco Ponce and Sergio Gamino was subsequently moved to another department (department unknown as of yet), and both defendants will be transported to court as they are required to appear.
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