Prosecutors seek to bar judge from coroner controversy hearing

By From page A3 | March 08, 2014

VALLEJO — The District Attorney’s Office is trying to head off a Monday hearing  about the circumstances of the firing and the possible coercion of the doctor who conducted dozens of autopsies in pending Solano County homicide cases by trying to disqualify the judge overseeing the hearing.

Prosecutors filed a motion Friday afternoon to disqualify Judge Daniel Healy, who they accuse of showing bias at recent hearings about the coroner controversy and for “repeatedly offering gratuitous opinions” about the controversy before hearing testimony.

District Attorney Donald A. du Bain has refused to comment on the case. He has not been subpoenaed to attend Monday’s hearing at which two of his three chief deputies and several of his senior prosecutors are expected to testify.

The prosecution posture is set against a backdrop of Healy having previously had to review more than a 1,000 pages of documents about the coroner controversy to determine what documents were relevant for defense attorneys to know about in preparing for a murder trial set to start next week.

At the heart of the prosecutors’ effort to remove Healy from the murder case is Healy’s stating that “in this case, the records suggest that the members of the prosecution and law enforcement met with Dr. (Susan) 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.”

Prosecutor Karen Jensen is disputing Healy’s interpretation of the meeting, prompting Healy at a Feb. 27 hearing to tell Jensen he could have made a more neutral statement but declined to reword his interpretation.

Jensen also points out that Healy last week rejected a defense effort to throw out the case based on insufficient evidence being presented at a November 2013 probable cause hearing. Even though the ruling favored the prosecution, while making that ruling Healy said he agreed with defense attorneys that there was zero forensic evidence showing the defendant had murdered the victim and that perhaps Jensen should pass on that perspective to her superiors so that someone could “do the right thing.”

Jensen ends her request to dump Healy by saying, “. . . it is my opinion that he has prejudged the facts and issues and that the people cannot receive a fair hearing.”

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 | 11 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Please read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before commenting.

  • The MisterMarch 08, 2014 - 6:57 am

    The "system" is trying to shut out the one guy, Dan Healy, who has had the b@lls to expose corruption. It is time to call in the State Attorney General and perhaps the FBI to investigate under the RICO statutes. It is becoming very clear who needs to be fired, prosecuted, jailed, and otherwise held accountable. The people are behind you, Dan Healy!! Fight on!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JackAttackMarch 08, 2014 - 8:07 am

    Oh I forgot. When the public "demands" justice that automatically means the system in place doesn't work. So when the AG says nothing was improper, let's go to Eric Holdner. We all know he can be fair. Then the UN next. How about the people who have a job, do that job. Specifically for this article the DA is right. The judge is not an advocate. He is there to be an impartial person to make sure the jury hears all of the facts. If the facts show he didn't murder her then let the DA fail to prove it. On a side note the juries never hear all the facts from either side regardless

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Been thereMarch 08, 2014 - 11:00 am

    Judge Healy's job is to be impartial, and not an advocate. The comments attributed to him are clearly out of line. I've appeared in front of him, and he most certainly runs at the mouth too much. A family law attorney I know tried to have him removed for cause due to his advocacy from the bench. You can remove the man from his job as a defense attorney but it appears in this case that you cannot remove the defense attorney from the man.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Dorthy V.March 08, 2014 - 8:02 am

    Healy needs to be banded from this hearing. He is the most egotistical judge in this county and always rules based on what he thinks instead of what the law is. Ban him and allow the DA to put these killers away.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Danny BuntinMarch 08, 2014 - 9:20 am

    I disagree. Judge Healy is a no nonsense judge with a touch of humor. I had the opportunity to watch him at work for several days. He is more then fair, and lets people speak, before calling BS on the untruths that anyone can clearly see. Lets see, a prosecuter versus a judge, I wonder who is going to win that argument? I love it, watching a system that usually gets away with wrong doing, being called on its unfair and illegal activities. The bully is having the system turned against them. Now if the shoe was on the other foot, and the average citizen was accused, we would have to spend all sorts of money to prove our innocents, after a bail hearing. Lets throw them in jail and have them work from that perspective, to prove their innocence.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • InterestingMarch 08, 2014 - 9:06 am

    This looks bad for the DA's office. When you're accused of covering up meetings and not being forthwright, why would you disallow the one judge who is actually bringing this to the public's attention?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Danny BuntinMarch 08, 2014 - 9:22 am

    It is called "grasping for straws".

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NocowardhereMarch 08, 2014 - 10:14 am

    Why wouldn't DuBain want to appear, speak on behalf of his office and show that he supports them? Because it's wrong and he knows it's wrong. He is now running against one of his top prosecutors and doesn't want any dirt on his hands. DuBain is a coward and always has been. If these were my people being falsely accused of corruption, as the leader I would speak up. We haven't heard one peep from DuBain. Like Ferrera, he had an underling address the media

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Lincoln G.March 08, 2014 - 1:25 pm

    Healy is the reason solano county fathers pay more on average in spousal support than fathers in any other county in california. His one sided heavy handed judgements for Deadbeat single mothers, have allowed solano county to Turn into what most know is the place to go and get handed Free money so that they can live off working men while they sit around and do nothing to support themselves. Healy courtroom is where you can get paid ladies, he's a judge who rules how he feel, not based on the law.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Debbie P.March 08, 2014 - 1:40 pm

    Healy is wrong and has a big mouth. He's a defense attorney who has a judges robe and is out of control. How will the families of the muder victims feel after these cases are thrown out. Once they are free to harm others, what responsibility will Healy take? Band him now and protect us from these killers. Please!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TaylorMarch 08, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    I must agree with Nocowardhere...how do you as the "leader of the pack" send in your troops to fight a fight you won't even face up to or speak on. I would be pretty pissed off if my employer hung me out to dry. Although we don't have all the evidence yet it's pretty clear something's a miss. As for the upcoming election, the fact that a politician has deep pockets to fund their own campaign has no bearing on my voting decision. What so they can buy a few more tv commercials, mailers and lawn signs...at the end of the day their deep pockets are no indicator to their job performance. I hope solano county can vote in someone from the majority...the average hardworking no nonsense kind of citizen that won't forget who his boss is...the citizen of solano county.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2016 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.