FAIRFIELD — The stage is set for a Monday hearing in Vallejo on the controversy casting a shadow over dozens of murder prosecutions in Solano County.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys for one of the accused killers said at a Thursday hearing that several top officials in the Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorneys Office and the doctor at the center of the controversy are expected to testify about meetings, conversations and emails that defense attorneys believe show officials conspired to cover up concerns about the quality of autopsies.
“I have no doubt mistakes were made,” Judge Daniel Healy said of evidence uncovered in recent weeks. “But what the remedy is for those mistakes is still unknown.”
The mistakes could include prosecutors not disclosing to defense attorneys details about meetings with Dr. Susan Hogan and attempts to manipulate her into changing her mind after she refused to rule a death was a homicide. Another mistake is prosecutors not sharing with defense attorneys any details about a months-long internal affairs investigation into Hogan that led to her abrupt termination. Another mistake is prosecutors not sharing an 84-page report about Hogan and the quality of her work that was, according to Healy, 100 percent damning with nothing positive to say about her job performance.
Hogan conducted almost all autopsies in Solano County between 2009 and September 2013. Prosecutors last week said they would be reviewing all the suspicious deaths and homicides done by Hogan throughout her employment.
An attorney for Hogan said her client would be in fear for her personal safety while attending the Monday hearing.
Lawyers for the county continued their objections to details about Hogan and the sheriff’s investigation ever being made public, saying it would “taint” the internal affairs investigative process and make witnesses in future investigations reluctant to come forward.
Healy agreed to keep more than 1,000 pages of documents under seal until April, but added that he believed they should be made public.
“The public wants to have faith in their institutions,” Healy said.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.