◼ Larsen sentencing postponed: Attorney may seek to remove DA's office from case
Timothy Gray, told the court he may seek to have the DA's office recused from the case due to a campaign advertisement...
The 30-second advertisement -- paid for by Citizens for District Attorney Paul Gallegos 2010 -- uses the voices of Gallegos and DA's office employees, including Neel, to tell the story of Larsen's case.
”When convicted sex offender Chad Larsen drugged and raped a minor, we got the word he conspired in jail to murder the girl to prevent her from testifying,” the commercial states, eventually culminating with DA Chief Investigator Mike Hislop, stating that Larsen was caught “red-handed,” and Gallegos adding, “And, now he's going to prison for a long time. End of story.”
Gallegos was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
After Wednesday's hearing, Gray said most cases are used in political campaigns only after they've been fully adjudicated and sentenced. The fact that this advertisement began running well before Larsen's sentencing warrants further looking into, Gray said.
”This is a small community and this is a pretty inflammatory case,” he said, adding that he may seek to have the California Attorney General's office step in to fill the role of prosecutor for Larsen's sentencing. “In order to make sure my client has been adequately represented, I need to pursue those things. I need to make sure I protect his rights.”...
(JUdge) Cissna said he would not even consider the recusal issue until the defense files a formal motion seeking to remove the DA's office from the case, which Gray said he is only considering at this point.
University of California Hastings School of Law professor David Levine said the Gallegos commercial doesn't appear to be immediate grounds for recusal, but said Gray might be able to mount a strong argument.
”(Running the commercial), at a minimum, raises a yellow flag for me, if not a red flag,” Levine said. It's not the best judgment to do that in a pending case.”