By Mansour Taleb
OAKLAND, CA – Alameda County Superior Court Deputy District Attorney Jake O’Malley was the center of attention here in court this week because he was accused of not providing discovery to defense attorneys in several cases.
DDA O’Malley’s failure to provide the discovery isn’t isolated apparently—the same issue was brought up on June 12, by Malcolm Harris, who is representing himself.
Monday, a motion to compel sparked the issue in the case of Kamilah Jeffrey, charged with robbery with serious bodily injury as well as assault with a deadly weapon.
The case has been pending since November 2021, and Assistant Public Defender Amber Vincent claimed discovery has been requested “three times,” including “surveillance footage” and “police reports.”
O’Malley reposted that “I was able to get in contact with…about the reporting, I saw that all discoveries have been requested and she texted me that she recently left the PBRBs and had schedule pickup but usually that takes a couple of days to process so that’s maybe why this incident has not been settled yet.”
Additionally, he said, “But what I can do is, for Vincent follow up on what she did not receive yet. I don’t have that much more information other than that.”
After Judge Clifford Blakely asked Vincent if she checked what was provided in the pickup, a confused Vincent reposted, “No, your Honor ’cause this is the first time I’m learning that it was left somewhere for me to pick up.”
She stressed, “No one indicated that it was available for me at this time. I don’t believe that it has been technically received by me and we are set for a trial in six days.”
She expressed her concerns about how the delays and confusion may affect her case, arguing, “I understand that it’s a time waiver but I need to properly prepare for it and it’s just a little frustrating that the discovery is not given over in a timely manner and in line with our discovery rules.”
The PD added, “The only discovery I received was the report of prior arrests from the complaining witnesses and other prosecution witnesses. I would request that all other discoveries be excluded from the trial…(DA staff) knew it was on for today and could easily email me to let me know it was available.
On the other hand, O’Malley argued the issue was maybe because “[t]he DV team does it differently, my understanding is that we do not typically reach out individually to the attorney because there is an inspector who would do the distribution.”
Vincent argued, “Other district attorneys emailed me in similar situations to let me know that they’re trying to comply with that motion to compel by letting me know things are available for me to pick up. I think it’s somewhat of a common practice to inform the assigned attorney about discovery issues when I am flagging that there is an issue.”
Judge Blakely commented on the exchange by highlighting the issue: “It is yet another example on the DA side, where communication can resolve a lot of issues.”
Nevertheless, he decided to deny Vincent’s remedy, stating, “Vincent brings up a valid point. However, the proposed remedy to exclude is denied without prejudice. I will reserve another issue regarding remedy right now and let’s pursue with the readiness hearing.”
And, in yet another case dealing with delayed discovery from the DA, involving a woman charged with shoplifting, the defense attorney for the case also had to request discovery from O’Malley.
He stated, “I am making a special appearance for Molly Ryan, she has an offer but has not yet received discovery so she would need a further pretrial date.”
Judge Blakley noted that the case was going on since November and was confused by how the defense attorney still did not acquire the discovery.
O’Malley claimed that everything has been turned over already and that “possibly some of that evidence has not been worked out in time and I can always resend those.” He asked the defense attorney to email to notify him whenever he re-sends those discoveries.
The defense attorney also mentioned he was waiting for full discovery for another of his cases.
He hypothesized, “It’s possible that the other attorney had the discovery (including police reports, body cams) so that could be the issue.”
He asked the court for a further pretrial date to get the discovery, to which O’Malley complied.
This constant miscommunication from DDA O’Malley resulted in a number of cases being delayed because defense attorneys don’t have all the information necessary to properly argue in court, which also leaves those accused of crimes waiting—often in jail—for justice.