COURT WATCH: Judge Dismisses Jury in ‘Illuminating’ Dominguez Competency Trial; Criminal Proceedings Indefinitely Paused

By Madison Whittemore

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Samuel McAdam here Monday formally dismissed 15 jurors sitting in the competency trial for alleged Davis serial stabber, Carlos Dominguez—mere days after the prosecution reversed course and conceded Dominguez was not mentally competent to stand for a full criminal trial.

Dominguez, still clad in an anti-suicide smock, was present with Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson when Judge McAdam thanked and dismissed the jurors.

However, unlike Dominguez’s past appearances in court where his face was barely visible behind his tangled hair that was draped over his eyes, his hair in Monday’s court date was brushed away from his face, he could be seen blinking, and he seemed to be visibly more alert.

“There has been a development in this case. After the last court hearing with you I met with the lawyers…and invited a petition from the county to medicate the defendant involuntarily,” Judge McAdam explained while addressing the jurors.

The involuntary medication is an antipsychotic medication administered to Dominguez to help treat his schizophrenia, which three medical experts diagnosed him with during their prior testimonies.

Previously, Dominguez has refused voluntary antipsychotic medication, and denied any mental illness.

Judge McAdam noted that because of the “illuminating” information that was brought to light during testimony about Dominguez’s rapidly deteriorating mental and physical health, prosecutors Matt De Moura and Frits van der Hoek announced they were no longer challenging Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson’s claim that Dominguez was incompetent to stand trial.

“At this point there is no longer a dispute as to his competency and the court has issued an order that Carlos Dominguez is not competent to stand trial,” Judge McAdam declared, adding a resolution was reached in the competency trial because Dominguez is unable to understand the court proceedings, unable to understand his own status in the proceedings and unable to help his defense attorney.

Dominguez will instead be transported and treated at a state hospital when a bed becomes available and will continue to receive the antipsychotic medication.

While it is unknown how long it will take to restore Dominguez’s mental competency—with the possibility that it could take months or years—Judge McAdam acknowledged public concerns regarding justice being served.

McAdam stressed to the jury that in due time and after sufficient treatment, Dominguez will stand a full criminal trial to determine his guilt or innocence in the three brutal stabbings (two of which were fatal) that rattled Davis in late April and early May this year.

“From there, only time will tell. The law and the facts will dictate how the case goes,” Judge McAdam reassured the jurors.

After the jurors exited the courtroom, Judge McAdam once again emphasized criminal proceedings for the case are paused indefinitely.

Judge McAdam concluded by noting upcoming court dates for the case, explaining a community program director review is set for Aug. 17 and a medication review Sept. 29.

About The Author

Madison Whittemore is a rising junior at the University of California, Davis where she studies political science and psychology. After completing her undergraduate studies, Madison wants to go to law school and study criminal law while working to improve efforts for prison reform and representation for lower income citizens.

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