By Eric Rodriguez
SACRAMENTO, CA – Tijann Divance Hardey appeared in Sacramento County Superior Court last week with—count ‘em—the third public defender assigned to his case.
And, during the court hearing the victim’s mother appeared to make a statement reflecting what appeared to be her frustration with the pace of the court system and made a call for urgency on the matter.
The judge apologized but couldn’t do anything about the situation.
Hardey is being charged with murder and the possession of a firearm. His case has been ongoing since Aug. 11, 2019, in part because his previous lawyers were relieved because of overload and because of the court’s emergency COVID-19 order that ground the state’s courthouses to a halt.
Hardey’s new counselor, Assistant Public Defender Alexander Asterlin, requested a continuance until Nov. 15, after previously speaking with Deputy District Attorney Kevin Jones. Asterline explained his current workload situation and began by saying “I’m going to make this my priority case…this is a pressing case.”
After Asterline’s opening statement, the victim’s mother said, “This has been going on for a long time. To have the court continue for more than a year now. I do understand that it’s COVID…But I don’t want to go into the holidays with this,” adding:
“We are already having a hard time adjusting. Coming here is like I’m reliving it every time I come, or every time they change the court date. And for me, my family, her kids, I don’t want to go into the holidays really. Dealing with the fact that they don’t even have their mother, I don’t have my daughter. It’s hard on us. And it’s not fair that we have to keep on reliving this.”
Judge Laurie M. Earl said, “I don’t know why this is on its third attorney, but that seems to be the main reason for its delay. I don’t think that it is Mr. Asterlin’s fault. I think it is the fault of the system in this case. Which I think it’s unfortunate and I apologize on behalf of being a part of that but I don’t have a good answer for you today. I apologize.”
Judge Earl reset the trial date for Nov. 15, and the trial readiness conference for Nov. 10.