Judge Considers Juarez Defender’s Request for Mistrial

Attorney Alleges Preliminary Hearing Was Procedurally Defective

Judge Frank Ochoa is mulling over arguments by Public Defender Karen Atkins that the preliminary hearing of Ricardo Juarez, the 14-year-old accused of murdering 15-year old Luis Angel Linares in a gang-related stabbing on State Street last March, was so procedurally defective that it needs to be done completely over. Atkins contended that Judge Brian Hill seriously erred in listening to the taped confession of her client in private and in refusing to allow her the chance to cross-examine based on that confession. Atkins has also charged that Hill erred in refusing her the opportunity to make closing arguments. The Juarez prelim took 11 days, far longer than most, and certainly longer than the four days Hill expected. Pressed for time, Hill denied Atkins’ for closing arguments, saying he was sufficiently familiar with the evidence to do so on his own. The prosecution has Juarez’s confession and witnesses who say they saw Juarez stabbing the victim. But Atkins claims Linares was stabbed by more than one person, and someone else inflicted the fatal wound.

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