Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Judge to release grand jury transcripts in alleged corruption cases
Judge Ana Espana, who is presiding over the corruption investigations begun in December 2010 will release grand jury transcripts May 29/30
In the South County Superior Court on May 25, Judge Ana Espana inclined toward making 99.9 % of the transcripts available from the grand jury investigation into South County corruption in three school districts: Southwestern College, Sweetwater Union High School District and San Ysidro.
The exhibits and transcripts, numbering over 4,000 pages, that led the grand jury to charge 15 defendants should be available by late Tuesday or early Wednesday of next week.
On May 25 Espana worked with attorneys for the defendants toward further agreement on material to be redacted from the transcripts.
Late to the negotiations, only two days before the hearing, an attorney for Southwestern College, Deepika Suluja, asked for some material to be redacted from the transcripts because it might contain information with attorney-client privilege or closed sessions from previous board meetings.
Paul Pfingst, attorney for former Sweetwater superintendent Jesus Gandara, also pressed for an additional 25 lines to be redacted.
Dana Littlefield reported for the Union Tribune on May 24 that Espana would likely redact less than five pages of the transcript--material that "contained inflammatory and highly prejudicial information that could jeopardize the defendant's right to a fair trial."
The attorney for several media groups, Guylyn Cummins, argued transcripts should be made public as they are already part of the judicial records. Cummins also discussed the logistics of releasing the records.
The cost for 4,000 plus pages would be prohibitive. Espana said after she makes her final decision about the redactions, by noon May 28, an additional copy will be made by the court recorder and become available to the public.
More like this:
- South Bay judge upholds majority of indictments in pay-to-play — Oct. 10, 2013
- Grand Jury investigation transcripts for South Bay school districts released — May 29, 2013
- Past and present officials from three South Bay school districts arraigned — April 12, 2013
- Two month delay for alleged South Bay corruption cases — Feb. 15, 2013
- Another delay for arraignments in South Bay corruption probe — Jan. 30, 2013