A docket of five cases was dismissed in Dolores County Court Monday, July 2, after an attorney from the 22nd Judicial District failed to appear.
The minute orders for each of the five cases, signed by Judge E. Dale Boyd, state, “District Attorney has failed to appear. Therefore due to the people not being represented all charges are hereby dismissed and the case is closed.”
Two protection order violations, two driving under suspension cases and one driving under the influence case were dismissed by the judge when counsel for the people failed to appear in court. A dismissal means all charges were dropped in the cases and the defendants were free to go.
Two of the defendants, representing one of the protection order violations and the DUI case, were in custody at the time of the hearings and were released once their cases were dismissed.
Dolores County Court Clerk Anne Deyell-Lawrence said she has never seen an entire docket wiped out due to failure to appear on the part of the DA’s office.
“I have never had them not show up, not call and not be able to reach them in some fashion,” she said. “We were lucky it was a very small, small docket.”
In a statement emailed to the Journal on Friday, July 6, District Attorney Russell Wasley said medical issues prevented a representative from the DA’s office from appearing in court.
“The Deputy DA who normally covers the Dolores County docket was ill that morning and in the hospital,” Wasley said in the email. “The prosecutor who provides backup coverage had an accident that morning, went for medical assistance, and was also unavailable. The dismissals were extremely, extremely regrettable, but physical illness is unpredictable.”
Reach Kimberly Benedict at email@example.com.