COURT WATCH: Defense Complains, but Court Delays Preliminary Hearing for 4th Time

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By Cheyenne Galloway

SAN DIEGO, CA – Deputy District Attorney Natalie Garcia requested a court continuance on a preliminary examination calling for a dismissal of the complaint here in San Diego County Superior Court this week.

The prosecution learned the day prior that the officer involved in this case is out sick, but should be available Oct. 3.

Deputy Public Defender Brianne Murphy, representing the accused who was present before the court in custody, rebutted DDA Garcia’s request, complaining about the repeated delays in the case, though acknowledging, “Through no fault of Mrs. Garcia, she is covering today. This (continuance) is the fourth time we have been here for this…hearing.”

DPD Murphy explained the first delay occurred because of issues surrounding the courtrooms, noting, “The prosecutor at the time had not notified the complaining witness who was an in-custody inmate,” who had not notified his attorney; thus, the DDA at the time had brought him (the in-custody witness) to court unprepared, prompting both parties to continue the hearing.

DPD Murphy then described the reasoning for the second continuance, stating that after the initial hearing, which happened a year ago, the People in the case decided to request medical records because the court released the complaining witness from custody, giving the People concerns about the complaining witness’s ability to return to court for the subsequent proceeding.

“So it continued again to get those records,” stated DPD Murphy.

The hearing was delayed a third time when “(t)he jail failed to bring (the accused) into court.” DPD Murphy continued, “I understand that there is more time that can keep him in custody, but understandably, the family is frustrated, and they are requesting that the court consider releasing him to his mother.”

The defense ensured Judge Michael S. Groch they had the accused’s mother’s information and his mother is prepared to house him in her residence and follow any orders imposed by the court.

DPD Murphy then tentatively agreed to the continuance requested by the prosecution, noting, “I have checked the calendar. Oct. 3 is a good date for a new hearing, and I will be asking if the court can vacate Thursday’s 12/03 date.”

Judge Groch responded to DPD Murphy’s request on behalf of her client and his family, stating that releasing the accused under the charges alone concerns the court.

“I don’t see a significant change in circumstance. I understand his frustration with wanting to resolve this, but I’m not inclined to put the public at risk, especially on a short continuance, so I’ll deny the request to adjust bail,” the judge said.

In response to the judge, DPD Murphy argued the accused’s incident occurred in custody, explaining, “Just so the court is aware, it was an in-custody incident, and it wasn’t out in public.”

However, according to Judge Groch, the fact that the incident was in custody is almost worse since it happened in a controlled environment.

The account of the incident was not discussed other than the detail that the charges show “an alleged capacity for violence and causing great bodily injury.”

Judge Groch set the preliminary hearing for Oct. 3.

About The Author

Cheyenne Galloway recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a double major in Political Science and Italian Studies. Graduating at the top of her class and achieving the distinction Laurea cum laude in her Italian Studies major, she showcases her enthusiasm for knowledge, finding ways to think critically and creatively. She is particularly interested in writing and reporting on social justice and human rights, but as a writing/reporting generalist, she enjoys researching and communicating various topics through written expression.

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