By Michael Wheeler, Tracy Hobson, Evelyn Peralta
SACRAMENTO—Judge Geoffrey Goodman at first last week refused to be pushed into making a decision about the approval of a continuance to which Deputy District Attorney Caroline Park had objected.
Instead, he requested Park and Assistant Public Defender Megan Cunningham return to Sacramento County Superior Court Dept. 61 on Friday, just before the July 4 holiday recess, for a decision.
PD Cunningham got her wish—eventually. The trial of her client, Joseph Yi, for attempted murder was postponed until Oct. 25. It was set to start the first week after the holiday.
Cunningham informed Goodman that she did not feel prepared to defend Yi without additional discovery and bringing in a defense expert.
“From talking to counsel, I understand she’s seeking two types of report. One has been already discovered back in May, and the second I understand she’s asking for gang evidence,” she said.
“This is not a gang case. [Cunningham] does have the victim’s rap sheet. I suggested that she do a formal motion, because there is nothing related to gang charges or gang allegations on his rap sheet. I do not see the relevance of any of that evidence, if it even exists,” she added.
When asked by Judge Goodman to explain the necessity of the discovery, Cunningham informed Goodman that she would be happy to submit something to the court off the record, but declined to go into further details while in the courtroom.
Goodman responded, “Usually continuance motions are done in writing with supporting reasons and evidence, not just, ‘Gee, I wanna some experts but I don’t wanna tell you what they are.’”
Goodman also told Cunningham that he was unsure of why she had waited so long to bring this issue to his attention, since Yi’s trial was currently scheduled to begin next week.
DDA Park told Judge Goodman that she had repeatedly suggested that Cunningham submit a motion for the specific discovery that she wanted. She informed the court that she saw no reason why the information that Cunningham desired had any relevance to the case and that she believed she had already turned over what had been requested in May.
“I see no gang evidence. I see no gang allegations or charges. What I see on the victim’s rap sheet are drug and meth related offenses. The cases that [Cunningham] referred to, the defendant was with our victim, those have been turned over. They were turned over in May,” she argued.
Goodman reiterated his desire to have the issues at hand presented to him in writing, saying, “I think it’s unfair to the court to have me make a decision on the seat of my pants without having anything in writing.”