COVID-19 Fallout: Public Defender Complains Judge ‘Runs’ Over Him, Threatens Motion to Remove Judge after Judge Suggests Removing PD from Case

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By Gwynneth Redemann

SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento County Assistant Public Defender Alexander Asterlin said he planned to file a prejudice appeal against Judge Patrick Marlette here in Sacramento County Superior Court, Dept. 63, after a series of conflicts Thursday, after the judge suggested removing Asterlin from the case.

Asterlin, who inherited Ilija Cvetich’s case Aug. 12, asked Judge Marlette for more time before setting a trial date because he didn’t have enough time to review all the pertinent details of the case.

Deputy District Attorney Keith Hill urged the court to move forward since the charges were initially made in September of 2017, noting, “There are 13 victims that are waiting for their day in court,” and “over $186,000 of loss.”

According to Hill, there were already 30 continuances for this case.

In response, Judge Marlette suggested appointing a different public defender to Cvetich’s case, stating, “I’m prepared to find that you [Asterlin] are not able to try this case in a timely manner through no fault of your own but simply because of calendar congestion.”

PD Asterlin responded, “The issue is the pandemic just ceased and now the court is not allowing me to have trials set where I can space them out.”

Asterlin mentioned that the loss of attorneys and the number of case overloads during the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to his being unable to sufficiently review Cvetich’s case but that he wished to remain attorney of record.

Judge Marlette, however, said he planned to set the next hearing for this case for Oct. 1, despite the time concerns raised by Asterlin.

Public Defender Asterlin interrupted Judge Marlette to object to the set date.

Judge Marlette stated, “Mr. Asterlin please don’t interrupt me or I’ll just cut your mic,” and “stop talking. You’ll get your chance to talk after I’m done speaking. You can understand that can’t you?”

Asterlin mentioned his intention to file an appeal (under California Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6), which prevents a judge from continuing in a case if it is suspected that they are prejudiced against a certain party or attorney in a case. This comes in response to a series of previous run-ins that Asterlin reportedly had with Judge Marlette.

“The court will not let me make a record. It’s making orders before I make a request. My objections are ignored, any clarification is being denied here,” said Asterlin.

During this time, Asterlin also asked his client, Ilija Cvetich, whether he would object to getting a new attorney. Cvetich said that he does not want a new attorney because that new attorney “would not be able to present this case any sooner than this attorney.”

Finally, PD Asterlin raised his concerns about appearing in Dept. 63 with Judge Marlette the next day, complaining “this court has run me over the last three appearances so I’m worried that tomorrow is going to be the same.”

Judge Marlette concluded by saying that the court was just trying to “move cases in an expeditious and fair manner.”

All parties eventually agreed to Oct. 15 for the next hearing.

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About The Author

Gwynneth is a senior at UC Davis, studying Political Science and Anthropology. She is from Ventura, California.

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