Judge Refuses to Accommodate Needs of Defense over Court Calendar

By Hannah Adams and Tashayia George

MODESTO, CA —  Assistant Public Defender Rachel Bills motioned for a continuance this week in Stanislaus Superior Court after receiving more discovery about her client’s case.

The judge in the case decided, apparently, that the court’s calendar takes precedent over the readiness of defense counsel in preparing a solid defense for an accused.

Anthony James Buggs was charged with a domestic felony offense in November of last year. Bills requested that her client’s case be extended past its original trial date set for July 11.

According to Bills, she received some of the discovery but needs more time to process all the discovery that is coming in.

PD Bills also informed the court Buggs has an impending medical procedure set for a later date in August, and asked the judge to give a continuance for late September or early October.

Judge Dawna Reeves addressed the court’s struggle to manage its calendar, and said she cannot move preliminary hearings around so liberally.

“I’m willing to accommodate for a brief time but please understand that I cannot make a habit of continuing cases for new counsel to get prepared. I cannot let (a new caseload) create a hardship for the court, because that’s going to impact every case,” Reeves said.

As a result, Bills maintained her continuance date of early September or late October, but the judge insisted on setting the trial date sooner not later because the court believes it will be a short trial.

“You guys are looking for long continuances and I am talking about shorter (continuances). This case does not require expert witnesses; it’s all civilian, it should not be hard to get ready for,” Judge Reeves stated.

Reeves ultimately extended the case an extra week, setting the trial for July 18.

About The Author

Hannah is a first-year undergraduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara. She is majoring in English and currently is involved with two campus newspapers. She is anticipating on graduating early and attending law school. She hopes to continue her passion for writing in a law-related career.

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