Appeals court refuses to dismiss judge in homicide case

By From page A9 | March 22, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The Solano County District Attorney’s Office lost its bid Friday to get a judge removed from a murder case that has been embroiled in controversy related to the doctor who conducted most of the autopsies in Solano County homicide cases since 2008.

The Court of Appeal faulted prosecutors for not following the law, saying they should have taken their bid to recuse Judge Daniel Healy to another Solano County court instead of taking it to the Court of Appeal. The appellate court then rejected the recusal effort.

“. . .(B)ased on a review of the record, in particular the transcripts of the relevant hearings, the court concludes as a matter of law that the statements by Judge Healy cited by petitioner, when read in context, do not rise to a level requiring disqualification.”

Prosecutors accused Healy of showing bias at recent hearings about the coroner controversy and for “repeatedly offering gratuitous opinions” about the coroner controversy before hearing testimony in the case of Michael Daniels.

Daniels is accused of killing his girlfriend in 2012 while they were staying at a Vallejo hotel. Police and prosecutors believe Daniels suffocated his girlfriend. Daniels’ defense attorneys claim she suffocated in her own vomit after drinking heavily and passing out.

Prosecutors took exception at Healy characterizing their meeting with Susan Hogan, who did the autopsy, as an effort to get her to change her opinion about the cause of death.

“In this case,” Healy said, “the records suggest that the members of the prosecution and law enforcement met with Dr. Hogan in an effort to cause her to change her opinion, then (had her testify) at preliminary hearing to support the murder charge without disclosing or providing discovery regarding this meeting to the defense.”

The trial is set to start Monday.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 4 comments

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  • General Fadi BasemMarch 21, 2014 - 10:11 pm

    Just this afternoon received my first campaign mail for the June election. It was from the duBain crew. I reminded me of the hit pieces that were sent out to tell the voters how their houses were gonna burn to the ground if they didn't vote to spend more of their tax money to pay off the cops and firemen, back a couple of years ago. This is gonna be a fun election. KA4DA

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  • The MisterMarch 22, 2014 - 7:53 am

    Opps! Now the wheels are falling off the cover-up machine. The exposure of at least some of the corruption of the DA's Office and the Sheriff's Office can move forward. Let's see what the next move is... probably something that delays further exposure until after the upcoming election. Hang tough, Dan Healy. The voters need more truth BEFORE the election. Justice delayed is justice denied!!!

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  • KA4DAMarch 22, 2014 - 11:10 am

    I've known Dan Healy for a long time. He is about doing the right thing, because it's the right thing to do. He has the courage it takes to be a judge and I'm proud to call him my friend. Don duBain is clueless. Every step he takes happens to land in dog s**t. He was useless as a prosecutor and even worst as a DA. He ran unopposed and only won because he has money. His character, well he had an affair with his best friends wife, then married her. Those kids he has in his campaign photos, those aren't his, they are the children of his former best friend. He condoned cover up, then tried to cover up the cover up. He has been chastised by a judge this week for trying to prohibit the court (illegally) from providing transcripts of his chief deputies testimony, where they blame County Counsel and County Counsel refused to accept blame. Now he moves to recuse the judge who refused to "be a good ol boy" and keep the cover up covered up. The DA is the most powerful person in the county. Is Don duBain really the person you want to have all that power. I say give Krishna Abrams a shot. She's earned it AND will shake things up in that office. Everyday you read about people found not guilty. Either innocent people are being prosecuted or the prosecutors are ineffective.

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