Phillips case slowly progressing

2013-02-27T11:31:00Z 2013-02-27T12:13:53Z Phillips case slowly progressingKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 27, 2013 11:31 am  • 

Well, Pamela Phillips' murder trial has been pushed off until next January, but that doesn't mean things aren't going on behind the scene.

First, Bill McCollum and Casey McGinley are out and Rick Unklesbay and Nicol Green are in.

In case you hadn't heard, McCollum retired from the Pima County Attorney's Office and McGinley is now Judge McGinley.

Secondly, Judge Richard Fields recently ruled on a whole bunch of motions that were filed by defense attorney Peter Herberg.

In case you've forgotten, Herberg was removed from the case last April because his boss didn't think Judge Fields was giving him (or Phillips) a fair shake.

Herberg believed the Pima County Sheriff's Office and PCAO were hiding evidence that could help his client and were behaving unethically in ay of variety other ways.

He wanted the PCAO kicked off the case and filed numerous motions on the matter.

On Feb. 12, Judge Fields issued a three-page ruling that said he isn't removing the PCAO from the case and he doesn't believe prosecutors and detectives have withheld evidence from the defense team.

In a footnote, the judge wrote: "This court recognizes that questionable actions may have been undertaken by some prior counsel in this case, but nothing rising to a conflict of interest that would jeopardize the defendant's right to a fair trial."

In response to a Herberg motion entitled "Continuing objection to prosecutor use of media as a weapon," Judge Fields wrote he's already admonished everyone to be careful when speaking with the media. He also noted he doesn't anticipate any further problems since there are two new prosecutors on the case.

Oh, and by the way, all of the attorneys met with the Judge in his chambers  at the unusual hour of 8:15 a.m. Monday.

From the little I can gather from court documents, it had something to do with a potential defense witness who is "being held in another state until March 12, 2013, with bond set in the amount of $500,000."

Defense attorney Alicia Cata apparently wants the witness brought to Arizona and held here until he or she can be deposed. The state objected at a hearing on Feb. 21 and they were going to discuss it further on Monday.

I just checked the file and there's no minute entry for Monday's hearing yet.

The original motion having to do with Cata's witness was filed under seal. Other recent decent motions have also been sealed.

According to the minute entry from Feb. 21, Unklesbay is going to file a motion that, if granted, would prevent the defense from filing any more motions under seal. 


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News and events of Pima County's courthouses.