By David M. Greenwald
Tahoe City, CA – With the case set to go to trial in December, the defense in the Harvest Davidson case remains without key discovery.
Defense Attorney Hayes Gable has filed a motion to compel discovery and a motion to dismiss if he doesn’t receive the discovery in a timely manner.
“After being assigned to this case, I received discovery from prior counsel,” Gable wrote in his motion. “After reviewing the discovery, it was discovered that a large number of pages were inexplicably missing. I informed the deputy district attorney, Mr. Mandrell that this was the case by email on July 20, 2021.”
He continued, “Recently, the District Attorney’s office sent me what was purported to be a complete set of discovery; however, upon inspection, that discovery was missing many of the same pages as the first set I had received, as well as some new ones. I advised the deputy district attorney of this by email dated November 4, 2021.”
Writes Gable: “The dilemma here is that this case has been pending since February 2016. Complete discovery should have been provided years ago. Unless and until the prosecution produces all the discovery or provides a believable explanation of why there are gaps in the page numbering, the defense will be moving for dismissal.”
At a November hearing, DA Cast Mandrell acknowledged the problem and believes there are no missing pages of actual discovery..
“We found one of those missing pieces,” he told the judge. “The rest of the missing pieces are unaccounted for. I believe reasons for it are just gaps in the base pages.”
He explained, “We’re doing an audit of the file just to make sure that there actually wasn’t any discovery there, but … discovery will be complete and we’ll be able to account why there are gaps in the missing base pages. Essentially it was from us moving from one system over to another system and going from attorney to attorney.”
Judge Suzanne Kingsbury noted that trial is set for December 7, but she is not sure who the judge will be, “it won’t be me,” she said. “I think it would be advantageous for you to just go ahead and file a motion to compel discovery. It may well be that we’ll need to have a hearing and determine exactly what the status is of the discovery.”
Gable, however, said he was not prepared to go forward in December in any event because of the missing discovery.
He added, “We have not completed our investigation yet. It was a trial date (that) was basically set over my objection. At this point in time, I’m inclined to want to move to continue the trial date.”
Davidson is facing charges from the January 2016 robbery that turned into murder.
The case reached a level of notoriety before it even went to trial on the facts. Initial defense attorneys challenged whether murder charges under felony murder law should apply in this case.
In January 2016, the victim brought 100 pounds of marijuana to the Beverly Lodge hotel in South Lake Tahoe, with plans to sell it. When the buyer pulled out, two men attempted to rob them in the parking lot and the victim was shot and killed.
The police ended up arresting a host of people, including Harvest Davidson.
Davidson was charged with murder even though he was not a direct participant in the murder.