Judge Blocks Steve Collins' Defense
November 1, 2012
Former Monterey County Water Resources Agency Director Steve Collins is running out of avenues to make the case that he wasn't the only one in the $160,000 side deal he had with RMC Water and Environment.
Monterey County Superior Court Judge Pamela Butler ruled Thursday afternoon that Collins' defense attorney, Michael Lawrence of Lawrence & Peck, cannot call witness to make the case that multiple parties representing Regional Desalination Project partners were pressuring Collins to take the actions he did.
"I do appreciate the argument presented," Butler said. "It simply is not a defense."
This is in the course of a preliminary hearing, in which Butler will decide whether there’s enough evidence to proceed with a trial.
Much of Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hulsey’s case so far also shows multiple officials were aware of the Collins-RMC deal early on, it's not clear that Lawrence has any way to spin that information to his client's benefit.
"At the present time I can't think of any area the court has left me to present evidence on," Lawrence said.
In a hearing last week, Butler ruled Lawrence could not call witness to the stand to support the planned defense argument that Collins was entrapped by other officials. Today, she rules similarly on another defense angle, "alignment of interest," in which Lawrence sought to prove that multiple parties—not just Collins—stood to gain from the Regional Desal Project approval.
Hulsey argued there was no legal precedent for such a defense, and Butler agreed.