VALLEJO — The top leaders in Solano County’s criminal justice system were in court Monday for a hearing on the events that led up to the firing of the county coroner last year and the circumstances of many homicide autopsies called into question by a possible cover-up attempt.
District Attorney Donald A. du Bain, Sheriff-Coroner Thomas Ferrara, Public Defender Lesli Caldwell, County Counsel Dennis Bunting and several of their underlings showed up in Judge Daniel J. Healy’s courtroom, expecting to hear sworn testimony from several people who worked with Dr. Susan Hogan.
Instead, the hearing was postponed until Tuesday because of an eleventh-hour effort by prosecutors Friday afternoon to get Healy pulled off the upcoming murder trial in which questions about who knew what and when they knew it were about to be asked.
Defense attorneys believe prosecutors hid evidence and coaxed Hogan to flip-flop on at least one autopsy that went from having an unknown cause of death to being deemed a homicide. One of the defense attorneys for the accused killer said the prosecution effort was without merit and that comments Healy made in past hearings don’t point to bias against prosecutors.
Healy delayed the hearing until 8:30 a.m. Tuesday when he will announce how he plans to respond to the effort to pull him off the case. Healy has already ordered that more than 1,000 pages of previously undisclosed information about Hogan and a months-long internal investigation into her work be given to defense lawyers. Other judges in other homicide cases throughout the county have made similar orders in recent weeks.
The Hogan documents reveal that meetings took place and correspondence was exchanged questioning the quality and accuracy of some of Hogan’s autopsy results – questions and subsequent answers that were not shared with defense attorneys.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.