Judge Denies, Then Bends to Public Defender Request to Delay Teen Attempted Murder Trial


By Linhchi Nguyen

WOODLAND – County Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez insisted several times Wednesday that a Yolo County Superior Court delay the trial in an attempted murder case, but Judge Paul K. Richardson was adamant about finishing the “old” case.

Gonzalez was representing defendant Daniel P. Davis, who was charged for attempted murder and use of a firearm. During this trial setting conference, Gonzalez requested more time, as he still needed to discuss with a social worker over mitigations.

Because Gonzalez would also be out on statutory leave in December, he requested the trial to be scheduled no earlier than February.

However, Judge Richardson was reluctant to push back the trial because the case “is pretty much a year old now.” He was also uncertain about the effectiveness of any mitigation that would occur, noting, “I understand the facts of the case, and I don’t know how much mitigation you can do where there’s an attempted murder where someone was shot a few times.”

Richardson mentioned that he heard evidence from the last preliminary hearing that Davis “approached a motel room and opened fire on a person…and [the victim] was struck a number of times.”

Yet, Gonzalez insisted that because the defendant is a teenager and may be facing a sentence of life in prison, he wanted time to be able to look into all of the defendant’s possible circumstances before they could present the case to the jury.

“Daniel Davis was a teenager when this happened,” Gonzalez explained. “He was raised by his grandmother, his father died in police custody, his mother has been in and out of his life. And there’s other circumstances that need to be documented to paint a complete picture of who Mr. Daniel Davis is.”

He added, “This is a very serious thing, and I think we should tread lightly in trying to figure out if there’s any way we can resolve this before we can present this to the jury.”

His co-counsel, J. Toney, agreed to the seriousness of the case and assured the judge, “There are intriguingly some possible defenses I’m working on…some motivations and possibility of heat of passion in this case.”

Judge Richardson acknowledged that there may be mitigating factors in the defendant’s life and will give the attorneys a couple weeks to bring forward any further evidence. Yet, he still pushed the defense to have a trial date ready in two weeks.

“We are a year out, and the preliminary hearing was a long time ago,” Judge Richardson emphasized.

“I’m going to be frank with the court, Your Honor. I don’t think we’ll be able to get there in two weeks,” Gonzalez responded, suggesting the court push the trial to February after his statutory leave.

Again, Judge Richardson refused, calling it “an old case. I’m not going to let this go that far.”

However, ultimately, he bent a little, scheduling the trial for Jan. 25, 2021, and asked the attorneys to work toward that date.

When asked about how long the trial would take, attorney Toney estimated that the trial would take up to two weeks, “with all the mitigation…[and] with the difficulty of picking a jury with African Americans and a homicide case.” Gonzalez estimated a duration of 10 days for the trial.

Thus, apart from the 10-day jury trial, the attorneys will also return on Jan. 8 to review motions, with a trial readiness conference Jan. 20.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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