After a short hearing in South Lake Tahoe last week, Judge Timothy Buckley ruled that Supervisor Ray Nutting will face trial
Earlier this year the El Dorado County District Attorney and California Attorney General offices built their case against the District 2 representative and on May 24 a grand jury handed down an indictment accusing Nutting of filing false documents, perjury by declaration and failure to recuse himself from Board of Supervisors votes that could be a conflict of interest.
Buckley, a retired associate justice, was called in for the Nutting case. Local judges recused themselves from the proceedings because of potential conflicts of interest,
Nutting’s lawyer David Weiner had asked for a dismissal of all the charges which include four felonies and several misdemeanors.
Buckley said his first inclination would have been to refer the allegations back to the county grand jury with proper instructions, as he said the grand jury had been misled due to improper instructions; however, the grand jury has since been discharged and the information “tainted” due to widespread discussion of the case, he continued. Since there is probable cause that the defendant did commit the alleged offenses, the judge ruled against the motion to dismiss the case.
In doing so, the judge said he was not determining what the jury would ultimately decide ; Nutting’s guilt or innocence will have to be established beyond a reasonable doubt, he concluded.
Nutting pleaded not guilty to all the charges and a trial date was set for Feb. 4, 2013, although other hearings for appeals and motions will occur later this year. The trial will take place in Placerville, beginning with jury selection. Deputy district attorney James Clinchard estimated the trial would last three weeks.
Following the hearing, Nutting’s attorney David Weiner noted that the judge ruled against them based on reasonable suspicion but no final judgement as to the merits of the case.
“We anticipate prevailing,” he said. “The truth hasn’t been presented. It’s been one-sided with the grand jury misled with prejudiced and inaccurate information.”