Judge disqualifies SLO County district attorney for political reasons

December 11, 2020

Tianna Arata outside courthouse, photo by Richard Bastian

By KAREN VELIE

The court disqualified the entire San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office on Friday from prosecuting seven Black Lives Matter defendants charged with crimes allegedly committed during a July protest. Instead, the California Attorney General’s Office will take over the prosecution.

SLO County Superior Court Judge Matt Guerrero ruled the District Attorney’s Office has a clear conflict of interest based on the wording of an email District Attorney Dan Dow and his wife sent supporters seeking donations. The email asks Dow’s supporters to help him lead the fight against the “wacky defund the police movement and anarchist groups that are trying to undermine the rule of law and public safety in our community.”

Based on the small number of prosecutors in Dow’s office, approximately 40, Guerrero ruled they were all compromised, while tears fell from defendant Tianna Arata’s eyes.

On Thursday, defense attorneys argued that Dow’s personal political opinions jeopardize the seven defendant’s rights to a fair trial. The dependents include Arata, Robert Lastra, Sam Grocott, Jerad Hill, Marcus Montgomery, Joshua Powell and Amman Asfaw.

In opposition, Deputy Attorney General Zee Rodriguez argued against the disqualification noting the defense is required to show an actual conflict of interest and not a perceived conflict. In addition, the defendants failed to follow statutory requirements, such as proving affidavits and not relying on unsupported allegations, she said.

It is not yet known if prosecutors plan to object to the ruling.

Patrick Fisher and Tianna Arata walking to the courthouse, photo by Richard Bastian

Judge Guerrero split the baby on the motion to compel discovery, noting that the defendants already had most of the discovery they had requested. He then ordered prosecutors to provide correspondence between law enforcement and prosecutors and for forms reflecting cases referred for prosecution for black clients over the past 20 years, which they had requested to show systemic racism in local law enforcement.

Judge Guerrero denied the defendant’s motions for a gag order and to drop the cases based on the defense attorneys’ failures to meet statutory requirements. Guerrero then accepted not guilty pleas from all of the defendants.


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jdchem

This must be the will of the voters, indirectly of course.


Cindy

Judge Matt Guerrero is the pot calling the kettle black. First, as a board member for Oceano, Guerrero repeatedly voted against having John Wallace investigated, until most of Wallace’s crimes had passed the time limits. So his buddy was only convicted of misdemeanors.


Guerrero is closely affiliated with almost every public officials accused of corruption from cocaine addict Adam Hill to John Schoals. He is also a personal friend of Arata’s attorney Patrick Fisher, which was not disclosed in court.


And to order the DA’s office to turn over 20 years of charges for black people to help his buddy Fisher get his client off, not because she did not do it, but because she is black and racism exists. Wow, just wow.


Guerrero only became a judge because of Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson’s pressure on the governor’s office. Now Guerrero is supporting Tom Fulks’ attempt to demean Dan Dow while Fulks interviews people to run against Dow.


Niles Q

So the judge is “a personal friend of Arata’s attorney Patrick Fisher, which was not disclosed in court?”

It’s the judge who should be disqualified if this is true. And if it is, and he didn’t disqualify himself, he’s a crooked SOB too.


deepsea

Guerro is a registered Democrat. Shocking, I know.


slo-to-load

Donald Trump was also a registered democrat from 2001-2009. Does that also shock you?


fredpacker

Apparently everyone’s registered political party is super important, unless you are the soon to be former RINO President… (I’m sure you will downvote this comment, but you know it’s true)


Nightrider

Well,

Judge Guerrero just handed the Defense a Victory!

I will remember this when he is up for Reelection.

The State of California is currently being run by Marxists and Socialists.

Law abiding Citizens don’t stand a chance of Equal protection under the Law!

The Fed’s need to step up for the Disruption of Commerce on a Federal Highway,

And so much for a Lawsuit against the Jackass

Who rained all the Glass down on the Terrifyed kid in the blocked car.

Doesn’t anybody stand up for what’s right?


fat chance

She just won her case…this is ridiculous


ghostpepper

She didn’t win the case. This is just saying that the SLO DA’s office can’t prosecute the case. So it’s going to the state to handle.


Granted, it may not be seen as an important issue by the AG’s office and they may choose not to go forward with it. That would be a tragedy because then she would effectively get away completely clean with nothing accomplished.


Stunned

Ok, on the bright side we don’t have to pay to try these miscreants but, I sure wish our DA either hadn’t put that note out (although we all agree with him) or we can then discover it was taken out of context or something like that.


Either way, prosecute these criminals!


Speak Truth to Power

Anyone paying attention knows what this move is all about. Take off the locally elected and accountable Officers of the Court and bring in left wing, unaccountable political hacks to protect the BLM activists from the consequences of their Actions. It’s ridiculous but this is what happens when you are on the politically correct side of an issue, you get special treatment and treated with kid gloves.


Apolitical

Well, we know what the AG will do with the case.


We are screwed. Next time, I hope the rioters step in front of me on the highway.


Horrible decision.


mazin

All those DA salaries for NOTHING, due to politicization of the department. So, do the ideologically challenged in this County learn??? Get a new DA and sheriff that want to be apolitical and solely dedicated to serving in their current overpaid office. The ones in office are tainted by their politicization.

Records for 20 years of prosecution of black citizens to show systemic racism in local law enforcement. Defending THAT will cost us a bundle!!!

BOTCHED, completely botched, by political ambition and bigotries.

Meanwhile, Tianna becomes a heroine. Don’t say I didn’t tell you this would happen.


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