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Corruption trial postponed Robert Moreno | Fri, Jan 24 2014 04:00 PM

A trial date in the corruption case that has plagued three South Bay school districts has been delayed until April 28, more than two months after the case was supposed to begin.

Paul Pfingst, attorney for former Sweetwater Union High School District Superintendant Jesus Gandara, brought a motion of continuance because he had other trials that would overlap with the original Feb. 18 trial date.

“I had assumed this inclination that this case was probably not going to trial,” he said. “There was a gap in time during which I operated under an assumption and met with other judges about other cases.”

Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr said he was ready to move forward with the trial.

“We’ve always been firm that we will take this trial and be ready to go on February 18,” Schorr said.  “If I have to get this case to trial, it’s not going to settle, let’s try (moving the date) it. People have a right to have this case heard.”

Sweetwater board member Pearl Quiñones’ attorney, Marc Carlos,  also said a Feb. 18 trial date would have been a scheduling conflict with him. But if the trial stayed in February, he said he would be willing to ask other judges to put his other cases on the fast track.

Ricardo Gonzalez, attorney for  ex Sweetwater District board member Greg Sandoval also had a scheduling issue for the February 18 date.

Dean Schiffman, attorney for Sweetwater board member Bertha Lopez, took no position on rescheduling a trial date.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Ana España said a trial needs to happen “sooner than later.”

She also said when the initial trial date was given she didn’t schedule any cases that would interfere with the trial.

After a brief recess, Pfingst suggested the new trial date for April 28, but España wanted a date in the beginning of April. 

When attorneys’ schedules couldn’t make an early April date work, she agreed to the new trial date.

España said she anticipates the trial to last four to six months.

Pfingst said he didn’t know why the trial would last so long.

“Four months. I’m not sure why it’s four months,” Pfingst said.

Epaña said she hopes that the case will find a resolution. 

“My hope is that there is continued conversations between counsel to resolve this case.” “It would be best for everybody to reach a resolution.”

A motion hearing is set for February 7, with jury selection scheduled for April 20.

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Erupting Says:

Tue, Jan 28 2014 07:47 AM

We need a judge that represents our community. Sounds like she wants it to just go away.


anniej Says:

Sat, Jan 25 2014 08:16 PM

In case any have forgotten, the golden parachute John McCann gave Jesus Gandara did include legal representation - if 'the gandara' pleads DOWN will WE the taxpayers be left with PAYMENT DUE notices from Mr. Pfingst?


sosocal Says:

Sat, Jan 25 2014 03:32 PM

Earlier I had wondered why the indictees seemed so unremorseful, so untouched by what they were accused of.

Perhaps that is because they had inside knowledge that the process would be an easy one? That it would still be 'business as usual' for the corrupt officials and "leaders" of this and other school districts?

These delays are sickening.

These people are sickening.

They have stolen from the young people of various school districts, and they are getting away with it!

Rumor has it that Cartmill has made another deal--this one that allows him and his wife to have free healthcare for life!!

Can this be?

Will Sweetwater be on the hook for these crooks FOREVER?

They just can't get enough of the public's funds.

Personally, I would think they might start feeling ashamed of themselves sometime soon--because they are all shameful.


David Danciu Says:

Sat, Jan 25 2014 02:01 PM

I agree that there has been enough time. Why the delay? All of the defendants have a scheduling conflict? Tough SH--! Judge Espana sounds disinterested and hopes there will be a resolution between counsel. WE want justice not more maneuvering!


anniej Says:

Fri, Jan 24 2014 09:36 PM

It is sad that this community, after allegedly being the bictims of CORRUPTION, now have to sit and wait. Remind me again how long ago they were indicted. The South Bay's eyes are on this case, and to date, they are NOT believing that justice is being served.

It is one thing to be knocked down by alleged corruptors and another to then be kicked in the teeth by the system. I would have preferred that Judge Espana stand up to the defendants attorneys and give them the 411 - YOU HAVE HAD MORE THAN ENOUGH TIME - RESCHEDULE YOUR 'other' CASES - plead out or I will see you at trial in February.


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