Slated to come before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roger Ito this morning is a motion to disqualify the county’s Office of District Attorney from continuing to handle habeas corpus proceedings in a case in which a prosecutor is on loan from the Office of Public Defender and—according to the moving party—remains on its payroll.
The District Attorney’s Office yesterday insisted that it is paying Deputy Public Defender Diana Teran but declined to say when that began.
The disqualification motion was made by attorney Kathleen Cady of the Dordulian Law Group on behalf of the children of the victims of a slaying during the course of a robbery 25 years ago. The man convicted of the crimes, Samuel Zamudio, is contesting his death sentence.
Recusal is sought of the entire District Attorney’s Office or, at the least, ejectment from the case of prosecutor Teran—who is being paid $218,042.04 per year by the Public Defender’s Office, according to information provided by that office to the Dordulian Law Group in response to a Public Records Act (“PRA”) request—and Deputy District Attorney Shelan Joseph, a former deputy public defender.
The District Attorney’s Office was queried in an email as to Cady’s allegation. It was asked:
“If it is not true that Ms. Teran is being paid by the Public Defender’s Office, and she is being paid by the DA’s Office, when did she go on the DA’s Office payroll?”
The media relations department provide a statement from Alex Bastian, special advisor to District Attorney George Gascón, advising:
“Ms. Teran’s salary comes out of the LADA’s office budget.”
There was no response to a follow-up question pressing for when this came about, conceivably having occurred after the recusal motion was served.
Bastian also said:
“Due to Ms. Cady’s lack of notice in her filing earlier this week, the parties have requested a continuance to respond to her motion in writing. More details will be provided in our response to the court. Ms. Cady’s motion lacks merit and we are confident it will be denied.”
Cady related yesterday that she anticipates Ito will grant a continuance at today’s session. She noted that the District Attorney’s Office has expressed a preference for an Aug. 25 hearing.