FAIRFIELD — Suspicions by defense attorneys that the District Attorney’s Office might somehow have colluded with the doctor who performed most of the homicide autopsies for the Solano County Sheriff’s Office in recent years were ratcheted up Thursday by an email that was made public.
The brief email from Dr. Susan Hogan was sent to a deputy district attorney handling the case of Ryan J. Moore, who fatally shot Bettina Brown in 2012 at his Suisun City home. While the cause of Brown’s death was undisputed, the email, and the fact that it was never shared with Moore’s deputy public defender, spurred a request Thursday to throw out Moore’s second-degree murder conviction.
August, 22, 2013 – 12:34 p.m.
To: DDA Haroon Khan
From: Dr. Hogan
Subject: Public defender called
If it’s OK with you, I’m going to ignore?
The ignored public defender referenced in the email, Meenha Lee, told Judge Wendy G. Getty on Thursday morning she obtained the email the previous night, eight months after it was written, in response to a subpoena issued last month to county officials seeking all of Hogan’s emails to the District Attorney’s Office.
Getty put off any response to Lee’s request until May 12 when she may also rule on a request for a new jury trial, because during deliberations jurors talked about Moore not testifying. Lee said she wanted Khan to testify at that hearing about how he responded to Hogan’s email.
Two other emails from Hogan to prosecutors have already fueled a controversy about how the District Attorney’s Office has implemented a policy of sharing all information about pending criminal cases with defense attorneys as required by law.
One Hogan email from February 2013, kept secret by prosecutors for seven months, included a “just between you and me” admonition before saying she believed the rape and strangulation of 13-year-old Genelle Conway-Allen may have been an accident during consensual sex.
Another Hogan email in January 2014 said she had been fired by the Sheriff’s Office. Hogan later claimed she knew nothing about a months-long 2013 secret investigation into her competency after District Attorney Donald A. du Bain and Sheriff Thomas Ferrara met with their top staff. Defense attorneys in more than 30 homicide cases knew nothing about the questions concerning Hogan’s competency or her firing until a few months ago.
The subpoena for the Hogan emails was issued last month in the case of a Vallejo man standing trial on a murder charge for the suffocation death of his girlfriend in 2012. Before that trial got underway, several days of hearings took place to flesh out the details about Hogan, the District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Ferrara testified, as did two of du Bain’s chief deputies, Jeff Kauffman and Terry Ray.
Both Kauffman and Ray had been subpoenaed to testify Thursday at a hearing for Conway-Allen’s accused killer, Anthony L. Jones. That hearing was postponed by prosecutors, who filed a request with Judge E. Bradley Nelson, seeking a court order to block Kauffman and Ray from testifying.
Nelson postponed the hearing until after an April 23 hearing about the prosecution request.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.