The Star-News


Arraignments delayed again

Fri, Feb 15 2013 04:25 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité-montecalvo

Arraignments for 15 current and former elected officials in the South Bay, as well as contractors, were delayed again following a reassignment of judges this morning.

Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Ana Espana will now handle the case in department 16, which is the courtroom where cases are often reassigned, according to defense attorney James Fitzpatrick.

Judge Stephanie Sontag previously presided over the hearings.

The arraignments are expected to go forward on April 12, along with a demurrer filed by Jeffrey Flores’ attorney saying a specific cause of action has not been stated in the pleadings.

Fitzpatrick, who represents San Ysidro school district superintendent Manuel Paul, said there would also be an upcoming motion to keep the grand jury transcripts sealed.

The grand jury last December issued indictments that broadened the spectrum of defendants to include Sweetwater Union High School Board members James Cartmill and Bertha Lopez and former Southwestern College superintendent Raj Chopra, among others.

Two weeks ago defense attorneys motioned to seal the grand jury transcripts from the pubic and media.

At this point there are 60,000 pages of grand jury transcripts, according to Fitzpatrick.

Missing today in court were former Sweetwater school district superintendent Jesus Gandara, Chopra and Paul, who asked the judge to be dismissed from today’s hearing due to his father’s sudden passing.

 

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