Ruling to disqualify SLO County DA’s office from prosecuting Arrata case is appealed
–California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Office last week appealed a judge’s order that disqualified the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting Tianna Arrata and several other defendants. Arrata and the defendants allegedly committed criminal acts during a July protest in San Luis Obispo.
The filings read, in part, “The Attorney General of the State of California appeals, pursuant to Penal Code section 1424, subdivision (a)(1) and (2), and in accordance with section 1466, subdivision (a)(1) to the Appellate Division of the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, from the Court‘s December 11, 2020 order recusing the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office…”
In December, Judge Matthew Guerrero disqualified San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow and his office, pointing to a Sept. 4 campaign fundraising email sent by Dow and his wife and paid for by his re-election campaign that sought financial donations and said that Dow was “leading the fight” against the “wacky defund the police” and social justice movement, reports say. That email was sent just days after his office filed charges against alleged protest organizer Tianna Arrata.
Following the decision, Dow said, “I respectfully and strongly disagree with Judge Guerrero‘s findings and decision to recuse the District Attorney from prosecuting criminal activity that occurred during this summer’s protests. The law is clear that in order for a district attorney to be recused there must be an actual conflict of interest and the conflict must be so grave as to render it unlikely that the defendant will receive fair treatment during all portions of the criminal proceedings. There is absolutely no conflict in this case.”
This month’s filings “will start a procedural timeline with specific dates by which all parties have to submit written briefs with legal points and arguments,” Dow says. The filings ask that the appeals in both cases, for misdemeanors and felonies, be combined and heard by one panel.