A judge has agreed to delay the start of Santa Clara City Council Member Anthony Becker’s perjury trial, though not as much as Becker’s attorney had hoped. Judge Elizabeth Peterson agreed to vacate the March 4 trial date but said Public Defender Chris Montoya’s request that the trial be rescheduled for July was “excessive.” Instead, she chose an April 22 start date.
Montoya asked for the delay in part because he has another client who is currently in custody and awaiting a March trial that could include a life sentence. Judge Peterson said she understood and was willing to grant the motion to push back the trial date, but she also indicated that Montoya should be ready by the third week of April. Judge Peterson pointed out that the public defender has had the prosecution’s discovery evidence for “several months.”
Montoya indicated that he was still receiving discovery evidence from the District Attorney’s Office with no indication of when the document handoff would stop. He stated that the latest document he received was on Jan. 16. That’s when Deputy District Attorney Jason Malinsky jumped in to point out that the document received on Jan. 16 was only 18 pages long. Montoya has stated in the past that the District Attorney’s office has sent him thousands of pages of discovery evidence and that he did not receive all of the documents until after Thanksgiving.
The judge requested a sidebar with the two attorneys twice during the hearing. It is unclear what they discussed.
When asked how long the trial is expected to last, Malinsky stated that he expects it to last three to four weeks.
Judge Peterson set the trial to start on April 22 and gave March 25 as the last date to file any motions. She was willing to hear motions up until April 8. Barring any other changes, Becker’s trial is expected to start on April 22 at 8:31 a.m. in Dept. 24.