By Julie McCaffrey
WOODLAND, CA – In a discovery hearing Tuesday here in Yolo County Superior Court for Carlos Dominguez—who’s accused of three Davis stabbings, two of which led to deaths in late April and May 1—Judge Samuel McAdam reviewed a motion to quash and several subpoenas.
The criminal proceedings for this case are currently suspended because during the last hearing on May 22 the defense raised the issue of the accused’s competency to stand trial.
The motion to quash originated from the defense, and concerned a records request from the prosecution requesting the accused’s medical and mental health records from the jail.
The issue raised by the motion is whether psychotherapist patient privilege applies to these records because they contain sensitive psychological information, or if there is an exception in this instance.
Deputy District Attorney Matt De Moura argued this instance overcomes psychotherapist patient privilege, and cites an exemption listed in Evidence Code section 1025, which states, “There is no privilege under this article in a proceeding brought by or on behalf of the patient to establish his competence.”
The prosecutor maintained Tuesday the competency proceeding was brought by the court based on the defense assertion Dominguez is incompetent after he said he didn’t need an attorney during the last court hearing. Criminal proceedings were suspended by the court on the behalf of the representations of the defense.
Judge McAdam asked the prosecution if there is any prejudice to wait until they receive the doctor’s report to rule on this matter, asserting that if there is no dispute regarding the issue of competency based on the doctor’s report, there is “no reason to pierce psychotherapist privilege.”
The prosecution disagrees. De Moura insists if the records are destroyed, the prosecution will have to re-subpoena records should the matter of mental health be raised during criminal proceedings.
Ultimately, Judge McAdam decided to continue the motion for two weeks, until the doctor’s report is presented, and remarked “from there, we can then decide this issue.”
He added that “the prosecution has the winning argument at the end of the day,” and said that it is unlikely that these records will not be produced in due course, adding, “the law does favor [the prosecution’s] position” but the judge wanted “to go through one step before we get there.”
Following the motion to quash, Judge McAdam reviewed several subpoenas regarding the responses of the fire department and emergency medical services to the scenes of two of the three incidents. The incidents in question were the murder of Karim Abou Najm and the attempted murder of Kimberlee Guillory.
Judge McAdam concluded the hearing by addressing Dominguez’s request to represent himself during the May 22 hearing, noting “one of the issues before the court is whether the defendant understands these legal proceedings and if he can cooperate with his attorney.”
The judge announced he has decided to wait until the doctor’s report is released, and stated that “the doctor’s report will guide us… At least be the first frontline answer to some of these questions as to how we will proceed procedurally.”
During the hearing, Dominguez sat motionless with his head cocked back, showing no emotion or signs of recognition when two of his victim’s names were mentioned.
As the hearing came to a close, Dominguez raised his hand as if he wanted to speak, causing his defense attorney to promptly gesture to put his hand down, after which Mr. Hutchinson leaned in and spoke to him.