Olmedo rules: Read the decision to deny Danny Masterson’s latest trial delay attempt
On August 12 Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo shot down Danny Masterson’s most creative attempt to delay his rape trial.
We told you about it a few days later, and recounted the rather strange steps that had led up to that Friday hearing. Masterson’s attorney Shawn Holley (an original O.J. Simpson “Dream Team” member) was trying to convince Judge Olmedo to delay the trial from October 11 to late in January because she was also handling a super-secret arbitration of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer.
Masterson, the That ’70s Show actor and Scientology celebrity, is facing charges that he forcibly raped three women, all Scientologists at the time, between 2001 and 2003. He’s been charged under California’s strict “One Strike” law, and if he’s convicted of all three rapes he faces 45 years to life in prison.
We first broke the news in March 2017 that the LAPD was investigating Masterson, and he was charged by the DA’s office in June 2020. Since then he has filed a myriad of motions and petitions in order to try and get the case derailed or delayed. On June 30 Judge Olmedo denied the last of his motions to dismiss, but then on July 26 and 28 Shawn Holley filed a letter and a motion asking for the continuance.
We found out from a couple of court records that it was the Bauer arbitration that Holley was citing as the reason for the delay, and we publicized it on August 4. That evening, one of Masterson’s accusers, who goes by the name Jane Doe 1, put out a rare public statement, saying that a criminal rape trial with a potential life sentence shouldn’t be put on hold in favor of a baseball player’s labor dispute.
Judge Olmedo agreed and denied Masterson’s request for a continuance. Now, we have her actual written order, and we thought you’d want to see some excerpts from it.
Once again, Judge Olmedo is not kidding around. Her ruling suggests that nothing is going to keep her from beginning Masterson’s trial on October 11.
We thought we’d pull out some key quotes from Olmedo’s decision for your delectation.
— “Criminal cases shall be set for trial, heard and determined as soon as possible. There is no such competing right to a speedy arbitration. Indeed, where a timing conflict exists, arbitrations have never been judicially or legislatively prioritized over criminal matters…”
— “Criminal jury trials generally and jury trials specifically for sex crimes have statutory calendaring priority above all other matters. Criminal jury trials involving sex crimes are prioritized above all other legal matters.”
— “Defendant is not entitled to the presence of both attorneys at all hearing dates. Defendant has privately retained two counsel to represent him in the above-captioned case. However, defendant does not have a right to both counsel present at all times or for all trial matters. Indeed, in more complex cases than the case at hand, such as capital cases, the California Supreme Court has repeatedly held that so long as at least one of the two defense counsel are present, a capital defendant is not entitled to the presence of both appointed counsel at all times.”
Judge Olmedo pointed out that this is the ninth request for continuance that the defense has made in the case.
— “This case is not complex. Because over two years have passed since the filing of criminal charges, both parties have had more than sufficient time to prepare for jury trial. By the time jury trial commences on October 11, 2022, the defense will have had almost two and a half years to prepare for a jury trial. Counsel Holley and Cohen have been personally representing defendant since November 2021 — eleven months prior to the commencement of the current trial date. This too, is more than a sufficient period of time to prepare for jury trial in the instant matter.”
— “On May 31, 2022, counsel represented to the Court that she would be taking over as lead trial counsel. However, to be clear, counsel was already representing defendant prior to the May 2022 date. Furthermore, counsel will have represented defendant in this matter for eleven months which is more than sufficient time to prepare for a jury trial of this nature. This court has already considered counsel Holley’s and Cohen’s changed status as ‘lead’ trial counsel when granting the previous defense requested continuance of the jury trial from August 29, 2022 to October 11, 2022 — a date agreed upon by all. A second requested continuance for the same reason will not be granted again.”
— “It is interesting to note that while the defense has previously moved this court to dismiss count one for the delay in bringing this matter to trial and, among other considerations, has argued the negative impact that time delays have had on witnesses’ memories, the defense has also repeatedly and continuously sought further delay of the trial date.”
— About the trial’s length: “The instant case has a time estimate of approximately four weeks. With the commencement of trial on October 11, 2022, even with dark trial days to accommodate the previously identified arbitration dates, at the latest, the trial in this matter should conclude by November 18, 2022.” (A verdict by Thanksgiving? Wow.)
If Holley really can’t make it to court because of her obligations to Bauer, Cohen will have to handle things on his own…
— “On those few dates that counsel, Ms. Holley, may not be available due to the arbitration matter and when the court is in session in the jury trial, Mr. Cohen will be present and can continue to represent defendant in this jury trial. Thus, Ms. Holley’s scheduling conflict to handle matters related to the arbitration, should she choose to do so, does not establish good cause justifying a continuance of the previously scheduled jury trial date.”
— “A private arbitration does not take priority over a pending criminal jury trial. This is especially true both in light of the charges pending in the criminal case as well as the age of the criminal case and the dates of the alleged forcible rapes. A continuance of the jury trial date in the above-captions case, based upon the reasons provided to this court, is not in the interests of justice. Jury trial in the above-caption case remains set for October 11, 2022. All counsel are ordered to prepare for the commencement of the jury trial on October 11 2022, and defendant Masterson is ordered to personally appear in court for all jury trial related proceedings commencing on October 11, 2022. Accordingly, the defense motion to continue the jury trial in the above-captioned case is denied.”
This judge just isn’t messing around.
NY Mag digs into Scientology’s use of “religious visas”
In 2016, we pointed out that for years researchers like Jeff Jacobsen had raised questions about Scientology’s use of foreign laborers in its “Sea Org,” and that the first things Scientology did was take passports away from those workers. But how big was the problem?
Fortunately for us, researcher R.M. Seibert had dug into the question and came up with some amazing releases of government data, which we published at the Bunker. It turned out that Scientology was bringing thousands of workers into the country on “R-1” religious visas, even though those foreigners were doing menial labor, not “religious” work.
And now, New York magazine writer Kevin Dugan has built on Seibert’s numbers with a well-reported and well-written piece about Scientology’s misuse of religious visas.
Among the people who appear in the piece are Katrina Reyes, Serge Gil, and Péter Bonyai. And we’re very glad to see R.M. Seibert get a nod for her work digging into the government’s numbers.
Now, will the government actually do anything about Scientology exploiting foreign labor this way? Well, sadly, we will point out that Mike Rinder is quoted in our piece in 2016, and Dugan’s story today, and his complaints about government knowing about the situation (and not lifting a finger) really haven’t changed.
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Source Code: Actual things founder L. Ron Hubbard said on this date in history
Avast, Ye Mateys: Snapshots from Scientology’s years at sea
Overheard in the Freezone: Indie Hubbardism, one thought at a time
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Right on Judge, smack those lazy lawyers down and make them do the work they are getting paid for. I am starting to think that the only thing the defense can do for Rapey is delay the trial and any subsequent jail sentence for a few more months.
Katrina Reyes, Serge Gil, and Péter Bonyai. are among my $cieno heroes. "Today, she regards Scientology’s operation in Florida as a forced-labor camp." Perfect definition of the RPF and SO servitude in general. Good job NY Mag and Kevin Dugan.
Yes Immigration, investigate the CO$ for the fraud and conspiracy they commit.
Unfortunately the American legal system is set up in a manner that once a judge is seated, it becomes next to impossible to unseat them so they become lazy or at the best complacent in their positions and merely phone in their jobs.
Attorneys count on this. They expect them to accept their filings at face value and just rubber stamp them. They use the threat of appealing a case to sway a Judge to bend to their will, and there are a lot of judges out there with enough of an ego that this bothers them.
Judge Olmedo pays attention and wants cases to move forward. She is an exception rather than the rule. I am impressed by her and if I were a defense attorney, would be worried trying a case against her because she pays attention so subterfuge isn’t going to work.
As for the NYT article, perhaps something will be done, but I doubt it, government officials don’t seem to care. I hope the tide turns.