Senior Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who is considering a run for district attorney in 2010, was told this week that DA Christie Stanley had ordered her off two cases filed last week. The first case stems from an alleged seven-year relationship that began between a then-40-year-old woman and a then-13-year-old boy, while the second involves the alleged sexual assault of a special-needs patient by a caretaker at a residential assisted living facility.
Though the two cases are both similar to ones Dudley has prosecuted previously, they were not transferred to Mary Barron and Ron Zonen-the other members of the Vulnerable Victims Unit, which generally prosecutes sexual assault cases-but to Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman. “The DA has an absolute right to assign any case to whomever she decides,” commented Dudley. “However, under these circumstances it is highly unusual that a case is reassigned : Yes, these cases were reassigned outside the Vulnerable Victims unit with no explanation made to the members of this unit, but our office is comprised of highly competent deputy district attorneys.”
Stanley said the decision to switch prosecutors resulted from the need to balance the department’s caseload with the potential budgets. “Our office needs to have cases reassigned,” she said, pointing out her office shuffles roughly 25,000 criminal cases a year. “Sometimes we take certain people and move them around.”