By Robert J. Hansen
A small demonstration was held at the El Dorado County District Attorney’s office in Placerville for Harvest Davidson, who has been awaiting trial for a 2016 incident, on Monday.
Davidson is charged with two counts of robbery and a murder charge for a 2016 marijuana deal turned into a murder involving several other people according to court records.
Tina Perry, Davidson’s mother, was joined by EMPACT founder Leia Schenk and about five other demonstrators.
Demonstrators chanted “no peace, no justice,” and “free Harvest Davidson,” outside of the front doors of the district attorney’s office.
“They have held my son for six whole years without providing the discovery that they know proves his innocence,” Perry said.
Schenk said she was called that by the district attorney asking why Perry was there and what she wanted.
“They want to know why we’re coming, this is why we’re coming,” Schenk said. “We’re here for Harvest.”
Several law enforcement officers regularly drove near demonstrators and others were parked nearby watching the small crowd throughout the demonstrators which lasted a couple of hours.
“They’re watching us from all over and keep coming around. You see how they are harassing us?” Perry said.
El Dorado law enforcement watching demonstrators for Harvest Davidson (bottom right) on Monday, December 20, 2021.(Photos by Robert J Hansen)
El Dorado County Deputy attorney Casey Mandrell has requested the case go to trial several times this year. Most recently on December 7, 2021, despite thousands of pages missing the discovery file.
Deputy attorney Mandrell nor the El Dorado County District Attorney’s office was not asked for comment.
Defense Attorney Hayes Gable, Davidson’s fourth attorney, has been requesting over the 4000 pages of missing discovery since January 2021 according to Perry.
“We’re calling for all charges to be dropped because of the Brady violation. I’m following the law,” Perry said.
Davidson has served 70 months in jail as of December 17, 2021.
The discovery issue
The missing discovery is one reason why the trial has been delayed for over five years.
The 1963 Brady rule requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to the defense.
If the prosecution does not disclose material exculpatory evidence under this rule, and prejudice has ensued, the evidence will be suppressed. The evidence will be suppressed regardless of whether the prosecutor knew the evidence was in his or her possession, or whether or not the prosecutor intentionally or inadvertently withheld the evidence from the defense according to Cornell Law School.
“The dilemma here is that this case has been pending since February 2016. Complete discovery should have been provided years ago,” Gable said in a motion request to the court on November 7, 2021.
After being assigned to the case, Hayes received discovery from prior counsel.
“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,” Gable said.
Gable said that unless 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.
After Betty Williams, President of the Sacramento NAACP called Attorney Gable, he was then given the majority of the missing discovery.
Gable was unavailable for comment and his investigator, Lisa Gara, said the council has no comment when asked for an update on the case.
Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist.