Kidnappers’ hearings suspended, co-defendants try to get new judge

By From page A3 | May 24, 2013

A man and woman accused of holding a woman against her will suspended proceedings on May 22 in an attempt to be tried by a new judge.

Marion Titus and Matthew Becker, appearing for co-defendants Jason Bays and Melissa Smith, respectively, filed a 170.1 request, which will suspend hearings until a decision is made. Becker said to Judge Douglas C. Phimister that he believed Phimister would deny the motion, but he was entering it for the purpose of an appeal. He said that their clients have the right to both a “fair and impartial magistrate” and a preliminary hearing within 10 days of arrest.

A new hearing was set for June 3 at 1 p.m. for a pre-preliminary and June 5 at 8 a.m. for a preliminary hearing. Titus asked whether the June 3 hearing would be when a ruling on the 170.1 motion would be heard, but Phimister said he “did not want to speak” to that motion. When pressed, he simply said, “The court will do what it is obligated to do under the law.”

Bays and Smith are accused of holding a woman, named only as Jane Doe in the criminal complaint, against her will. The counts include kidnapping to commit another crime, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury with special allegations of great bodily injury, criminal threats and anal or genital penetration by a foreign object.

Cole Mayer

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