A superior court judge delayed the arraignment of six of the eight defendants in a videotaped Isla Vista assault case Wednesday morning while defense lawyers pledged to file motions to dismiss all the charges.
The two defendants who did not ask for an extension were Charles Anderson, 19, who pled not guilty so he could return to his home in Colorado, and Adam Delafuente, 18, who pled no contest to one count of misdemeanor battery. Delafuente will be sentenced on October 29.
In June, the I.V. Foot Patrol received a videotape they say shows the defendants force-feeding alcohol to a 19-year-old victim, stripping and urinating on him, and finally leaving him on a couch in the middle of the street. Foot patrol officers have reported seeing at least 30 different people walk by the alleged assault during the course of the 45-minute tape.
A grand jury charged the defendants two weeks ago with various felony counts of kidnapping, administering an intoxicating agent and battery with serious bodily injury, and misdemeanor counts of sexual battery and battery.
Scott Carter, 19, Greg Singer, 20, and Joshua Burns, 20, were the only defendants charged with all five counts. Matthew Blessing, 19, and Anderson face all counts except sexual battery, and Patrick Mueller, 20, and David Rhodes, 19, face counts of felony kidnapping and misdemeanor battery.
Doug Hayes, the defense attorney for Rhodes, announced at the beginning of the arraignment that he will file a motion to dismiss the charges because a member of the district attorney’s staff had been on the grand jury that indicted the defendants.
“I’m absolutely stunned that a member of that grand jury, before sitting and listening to a criminal case, wouldn’t announce or tell somebody [that there was a conflict of interest],” Hayes said. “Apparently it just snuck by. It is wrong that a member of the grand jury was in the DA’s office.”
Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who is prosecuting the case, would not comment on the possibility of dismissal, but she said she was “frustrated” with the arraignment getting pushed back.
“This is an old case,” she said.
Although the video surfaced in June, the assault took place in September 2000, and Dudley has said throughout the summer that she wanted to move the case along faster.
An anonymous Isla Vista resident took the video to the IVFP, which resulted in the arrest of the eight defendants. Blessing, Anderson, Mueller and Singer lived at the apartment on the 6600 block of Trigo Road where the incident occurred.
Blessing, Anderson and Mueller said they attended Santa Barbara City College, but had not actually taken classes in over a year. The others were visiting from out of town on the night of the incident.
Carter’s attorney, Michael Carty, said he was planning to file a dismissal motion for lack of evidence and he expected the other lawyers to do the same.
“This is a written motion that will be filed almost assuredly by every remaining defendant,” Carty said. “The request is to have the court examine the transcript from the grand jury and then determine whether the evidence is enough for those crimes. If it’s not, the charges will be dropped.”
Although Carty said the other defense attorneys would likely join him, none have seen the evidence presented to the grand jury in the indictment.
“It’s interesting to note they’re going to file an objection without even seeing the evidence I gave to the grand jury,” Dudley said. “The statement suggests [Carty] is shooting from the hip.”
Dudley intends to try Anderson and the remaining six defendants at the same time.
The arraignment will be held October 30 at 8:30 a.m. in the Santa Barbara Municipal Courthouse on Figueroa Street.