A motion hearing set to compel the release of personnel records of a California Highway Patrol - Sonora area officer who investigated a triple-fatal La Grange Road collision was delayed for two weeks Monday afternoon at the Tuolumne County Superior Court.
Dr. Danny Anderson and his wife, Diane, who is accused as an accessory, attended the hearing with a large group of supporters and sat quietly next to their respective attorneys as scheduling details were discussed for the next motion hearing scheduled for April 2 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 1 of the Tuolumne County Superior Court.
The Anderson’s attorney, Tom Johnson of Sacramento, had previously filed a Pitchess motion to release the personnel records of Officer Joelle McChesney, who pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor accessing a computer to alter, destroy or use data for a criminal purpose, following an arrest in May 2008 in Yolo County.
A Pitchess motion is a request made by the defense to release the sealed personnel information of an investigating law enforcement officer based on the good cause that the information could show alleged officer misconduct.
McChesney was the first CHP officer to arrive on the scene of the accident on Oct. 21, 2016, and testified during the Anderson’s preliminary hearing. She was stationed at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento when she was arrested and then was employed by the Woodland-area CHP office prior to being hired by the Sonora-area CHP office.
Judge Donald Segerstrom expressed confusion as to why Deputy Attorney General William McMahon, who is based in Oakland, was not present at Monday’s hearing.
A state attorney must be present to represent the California Highway Patrol on a Pitchess motion.
Johnson and District Attorney Laura Krieg said they had been in contact with McMahon and that he would be present at the rescheduled date.
Segerstrom also continued two other motions to April 2.
The first, a defense motion to compel discovery of hospital records of the victims of the crash, a 911 call by Christina Hodge, and any other exculpatory evidence, was discussed at length as it pertained to the hospital records.
Kreig said she had been in contact with Memorial Hospital in Modesto and U.C. Davis Medical center in Sacramento regarding the records.
Segerstrom said about the upcoming hearing, “we can make sure all the files are here and we’ve gotten everything.”
Johnson asked that a request in the discovery motion for all electronic communication between the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office and the California Highway Patrol be withdrawn.
Segerstrom also trailed the final motion, made by Diane Anderson’s attorney, Kirk McAllister of Modesto, to sever her trial from her husband’s.
McAllister suggested that he would be ready to respond orally to the District Attorney’s response to his motion, but deferred to the rescheduled date.
Segerstrom suggested that McAllister “explicate better” his rejection of the “shared ownership theory” that was described in the motion.
McAllister explained to Segerstrom that he wished to counter the idea that the crimes alleged against Danny Anderson also applied to his wife.
Danny Anderson has been charged on suspicion of three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence with enhancement charges of fleeing the scene, one count of hit and run resulting in death or serious injury of six people, one count of reckless driving causing specific injury or death for the three fatalities, and misdemeanors destroying or concealing evidence and obstructing a police investigation.
Diane Anderson faces one count of felony hit and run resulting in death or serious injury of the six involved parties, accessory after the fact to the vehicular manslaughter charge, and misdemeanor charges of destroying or concealing evidence and obstructing an investigation.
They have both pleaded not guilty to all charges.