Ed Bedford 11:44 p.m., June 19
Alleged pay-to-play cases remain in South Bay
Judge Timothy R. Walsh denies district attorney's motion
At the end of January, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis filed a motion to reconsider the transfer of alleged corruption cases from the San Diego courthouse (central division) to the South County courthouse. On February 5, Judge Timothy R. Walsh, who initially sent the cases to South County, denied the motion.
Speaking on behalf of returning the venue to San Diego, deputy attorney Gary Schons suggested that South County's resources might be more limited than San Diego's. He specifically referenced available judge time and courtroom seating.
He also suggested that, although a fair jury might be found anywhere, a central division jury pool would be more neutral.
Another argument Schons offered was that the locations of the alleged crimes were throughout San Diego, not simply in South County. This statement refers to alleged bribery which took place in Petco park and various restaurants throughout the county.
Judge Walsh countered that while he believed Schon's arguments were logical and that the district attorney's office had properly filed all charges, the theme of the charges was one "alleging corruption of South County public officials and there is no way to separate the conduct from the public capacity."
He continued that the charges are related to violating the public trust and are "inextricably linked to the fact that these are public officials in the South County."
Walsh concluded by saying, it is not a question of "where the venue can be, but where should it be?"