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Oh, no — the judge looks like the accused

Defense attorney asks for suspension of Christopher Lee murder trial

Defense attorney David Kaloyanides and Christopher Lee
Defense attorney David Kaloyanides and Christopher Lee

The murder case against Christopher Brandon Lee was suspended at a hearing in a San Bernardino County courthouse today, May 26.

Judge Rodney Cortez

Defense attorney David Kaloyanides had petitioned an appeals court four weeks ago, on April 30, to prevent further hearings on the case until a higher court can make a decision on his request to recuse the judge who is currently hearing the matter, that being Rodney Cortez.

Kaloyanides said he wants to move the case into the only other courtroom in the Joshua Tree Courthouse that hears criminal matters, the bench occupied by judge Bert L. Swift.

In remarks after the hearing this morning, Kaloyanides was pleased that on May 6, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ordered Judge Cortez to “stay” or stop hearing the murder case. The defense attorney pointed out that the same appeals court published a suggestion that Cortez could move the case over to the other judge “sua sponte” or on his own voluntary action, without being ordered to do so.

The website for the appeals court noted that the San Bernardino district attorney’s office filed two volumes in response to defense’s petition, on May 22. And the DA’s office made nine more filings this afternoon, including a request for time extension and petition for rehearing.

Lee, now 25, denies killing Erin Corwin, 19, a woman married to the man who lived in the apartment directly across from Lee and his wife, on the Twentynine Palms Marine Base.

Lee is due next in court before judge Cortez on June 30.

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Defense attorney David Kaloyanides and Christopher Lee
Defense attorney David Kaloyanides and Christopher Lee

The murder case against Christopher Brandon Lee was suspended at a hearing in a San Bernardino County courthouse today, May 26.

Judge Rodney Cortez

Defense attorney David Kaloyanides had petitioned an appeals court four weeks ago, on April 30, to prevent further hearings on the case until a higher court can make a decision on his request to recuse the judge who is currently hearing the matter, that being Rodney Cortez.

Kaloyanides said he wants to move the case into the only other courtroom in the Joshua Tree Courthouse that hears criminal matters, the bench occupied by judge Bert L. Swift.

In remarks after the hearing this morning, Kaloyanides was pleased that on May 6, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ordered Judge Cortez to “stay” or stop hearing the murder case. The defense attorney pointed out that the same appeals court published a suggestion that Cortez could move the case over to the other judge “sua sponte” or on his own voluntary action, without being ordered to do so.

The website for the appeals court noted that the San Bernardino district attorney’s office filed two volumes in response to defense’s petition, on May 22. And the DA’s office made nine more filings this afternoon, including a request for time extension and petition for rehearing.

Lee, now 25, denies killing Erin Corwin, 19, a woman married to the man who lived in the apartment directly across from Lee and his wife, on the Twentynine Palms Marine Base.

Lee is due next in court before judge Cortez on June 30.

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Comments
3

But why does the defense attorney want to move the trial to the other judge?

May 27, 2015

Attorney David Kaloyanides did mention that he is currently arguing a case before the other judge, Hon. Bert Smith.
This reporter asked the defense attorney if he believed it would make a difference to take the Christopher Lee murder case to the other judge. "I think that there will be some differences," he replied. "Without going into detail, I think this will completely change the makeup of the case, procedurally." The defense attorney also spoke about the protocol for declaring for the death penalty in San Bernardino County, which is different from what we have here in San Diego County. More on that later, as it develops.

May 27, 2015

So, this means the clever headline has no bearing on the report, or the reasons for wanting the other judge. (Can't tell whether that's a question or a statement.) The likely reasons have to do with Cortez being hard-nosed with defense pleas and denials and suppression of evidence. I do think the good judge could pay more attention to his grooming.

May 27, 2015

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