Douglas faces many trials over the next year
An April 9 jury trial of three men facing potential life sentences for trafficking in drugs was delayed until October after defense attorneys said they were overwhelmed with trials.
“Between the three of us we have 15 trials,” attorney Mathew Work told Judge Tod Young on Tuesday.
Work, Maria Pence and Matthew Ence are representing Cody Britton, Lucas Polk and Joseph Brunson, who were arrested Dec. 30, 2017, at Stateline after deputies allegedly found 26 grams of crack cocaine and 126 Ecstasy pills in their vehicle.
Work said the trio had been free on bail with no violations and that their crime was not one where the men posed an immediate threat to society.
Britton’s girlfriend is expecting a child at the end of March and he’d like to be there for the birth, Work said.
Prosecutor Chelsea Mazza opposed the delay, saying there is no constitutional guarantee that someone be permitted to attend the birth of a child.
Young expressed concern that if he continued the trial date for the birth of one child, it’s possible the other two defendants might also cite a life event for further delays.
He warned attorneys that he wouldn’t delay the trial again.
Earlier on Tuesday, Young set a February 2020 trial for a man accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl.
Juan G. Ramirez-Vargas, 47, has been in custody since March 24, 2017. The crimes are alleged to have occurred March 17-21, 2016, in Minden. He was the first person indicted by the 2017-18 Douglas County Grand Jury.
Ramirez-Vargas is denying the charges. He is being represented by Ence and Pence.
Young told attorneys that if there was a possibility of resolving the case not to wait until January to do it.
Young set a Sept. 25 trial date in the case of a California man who is denying a trafficking charge.
Nathaniel S. Ford, 52, appeared in Douglas County District Court on Tuesday.
Ford was scheduled to appear in court in April 2018 after his arrest the prior month, but failed to do so after being released on $1,000 bail.
He was arrested at his home in Union City, Calif., earlier this month.
Attorney Kris Brown sought to have him released on his earlier bail, but Young denied the request.
“He didn’t show up for nearly a year and he is facing a mandatory sentence,” Young said.
On Monday, a March 26 jury trial was the subject of a status hearing in District Judge Tom Gregory’s courtroom.
Placerville resident Laura C. Thrash, 44, is facing trafficking charges in connection with the alleged sale of a dozen ounces of methamphetamine.
If convicted, Thrash could face a life sentence. She was arrested in August 2017. She is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.