Dan Dow mishap at sexual assault trial leads to dismissal of entire jury panel

January 17, 2019

SLO District Attorney Dan Dow

A San Luis Obispo County judge dismissed the entire jury panel in a Cambria sexual assault case that SLO County District Dan Dow is personally prosecuting after Dow appeared to trivialize reasonable doubt in his questioning of prospective jurors, something he had been warned against doing prior to committing the offense. [Tribune]

Before the start of jury selection on Monday in the trial of 72-year-old Herbert George Connor, Judge Jacquelyn Duffy approved a series of motions filed last October by defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu. The motions sought judicial intervention in the case Dow committed any of 19 unlawful courtroom actions that could prejudice the jury.

Funke-Bilu’s 19 separate motions included requests that the judge intervene if Dow made unfounded hypotheticals, made statements about possible consequences of Connor not being convicted, brought up religion, stated his personal belief that Connor is guilty, appealed to jurors’ passions or prejudices or trivialized or misstated the standard for reasonable doubt. Duffy approved all 19 motions.

On Tuesday afternoon, with just 17 of 62 prospective jurors remaining in the jury pool, Dow began raising hypotheticals about reasonable doubt when questioning jurors.

“Who here flies in an airplane?” Dow asked prospective jurors. “And who’s ever worried either on a plane or before going on a plane that this plane might go down? I know I have. It’s kind of a natural thing.”

Dow asked an individual juror how he or she makes the decision to fly, to which the person responded “statistics,” according to court transcripts.

“If you had reasonable doubt, a doubt that was based in reason, would you get on that plane?” Dow asked.

The juror said no.

“So I think we’ve all been in situations where there might be something that could be dangerous, like getting on the freeway in L.A., different things,” Dow said. “And if your vehicle had a major mechanical problem with it, you know, would you let your children or grandchildren ride in that vehicle?”

Funke-Bilu then objected, arguing that Dow was “trivializing reasonable doubt.” In turn, Duffy directed Dow to not use the hypothetical airplane and vehicle analogies when questioning prospective jurors.

Duffy later read a transcript of Dow’s comments and granted a motion by Funke-Bilu for a new jury panel.

Connor, Funke-Bilu’s client, is charged with felony counts of assault with intent to commit rape and sexual battery and a misdemeanor count of inflicting corporal injury. He faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted of all charges.

The charges stem from an incident in which he allegedly forced himself on a 67-year-old woman, groped her and caused her to fall into a door jam while she tried to escape. Connor and the woman previously had a sexual relationship, though there are conflicting accounts as to the nature of their encounters.

Though prosecutors had previously planned to drop the charges against Connor, shortly after Dow’s reelection as district attorney in June, he appeared in court to take over the case. Sitting district attorneys very rarely personally try cases in SLO County.

Funke-Bilu has previously alleged that Dow took over the case because of political pressure placed on him by the alleged victim’s attorney during the height of his reelection campaign. The alleged victim’s lawyer threatened Dow with bad publicity just days before Election Day if the district attorney did not grant the lawyer’s request for a meeting, according to court documents.

Jury selection resumed Wednesday afternoon with a fresh panel of 125 prospective jurors. Opening statements in the case could begin as soon as Thursday afternoon.


Loading...

13
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
Gordo

Where in the f**k was he going with that line of questioning? It’s voir dire Dan, just find out if they know the parties involved, what their occupations are, have family members in law enforcement and whether they can make an independant, unbiased decision based on the facts presented at trial.


What can you expect from a hapless buffoon who pens an op ed piece urging us to believe the victim and then refuses to file several sexual assault cases because he didn’t find the victims credible.


Ugh.. four more years of watching Navin R. Johnson at work.. “The new phone books here, the new phone books here!!”


Kalifornia_Bud

For being such a great place to live, we sure do have a bunch of idiots running this place into he ground.


Whyaduck

what a doofus


donuthandler

SLO county is a bunch of fools for re electing a damn fool like Dow. What idiot goes against the BEST lawyer in the county when he hasn’t even tried a case in years if ever. Playing with somebody’s life so you can “brush up ” your lame illegal court skills?? get real. #corruption


horse_soldier

Funke is going to eat Dow’s lunch.


DocT

Advice for Dan Dow in three easy steps


1. Get the flu and hand off the trial to an attorney with experience. (don’t really get sick….stay well and merely lie about being sick as a face-saving “out”)


2. Get Tracey Nix on the stand giving her expert testimony on the matter.


3. Start a campaign of virtue signaling…..recycled paper, EV’s, no plastic in the office, solar power on the roof, recycle office waste, donate taxpayer money to “green” companies, etc. Attend every left-wing, green, anti-white male event you can possibly attend. Make statements like “we can start by believing the women.” The tax payers will pay for all of it.


Virtue signaling is important because it can be used to compensate for incompetence. And the last thing we need is an incompetent DA!


kayaknut

Dan Dow should stick to what he does best, protecting the protected class and making sure they don’t have to take responsibility for their illegal actions.


analyticone

Dow has never tried a jury trial. Apparently, he can’t follow the rules, either, wasting the time of the jury members and the courts. No wonder he doesn’t act when faced with widespread government corruption. Dan, PLEASE pay as much attention to the bad actions in local agencies and with local agencies and with local electeds. PLEASE act in the public interest and represent the public trust.


rukidding

Funke 1 – Dow 0. Again?