A local judge Monday refused to postpone the long-delayed trial of a Nevada City man stemming from two separate domestic violence incidents, which is scheduled to get under way today with jury selection.
Jacob Michael Siegfried is also facing a separate trial involving marijuana sales.
He was initially arrested in early September 2011 after he allegedly had refused to return his child to the custodial mother after taking him to Burning Man, and then threateneing to take the 3-year-old boy to San Diego or Arizona. After the mother told him she would call law enforcement, he allegedly threatened to slit their son’s throat and also allegedly made multiple threats to beat her and stab her. In November of that same year, Siegfried allegedly grabbed his ex-girlfriend by the hair and tried to pull her into his vehicle during a child custody exchange.
Siegfried had accepted a plea agreement in all three cases in 2012, but that agreement was rejected by Nevada County Superior Court Judge Tom Anderson after he sent Siegfried to the state Department of Corrections for a diagnostic evaluation and officials there recommended state prison. Since then, Siegfried has had several changes of defense counsel; he currently is represented by Stephen Munkelt, who was appointed by the court in April.
In the two domestic violence cases, which were consolidated into one, Siegfried faces 11 counts of stalking, criminal threats, depriving a custodial parent of a child, making annoying telephone calls, spousal abuse, disobeying court orders and resisting arrest.
On Friday, Munkelt had filed a motion to postpone the trial, a move that was strenuously opposed by Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ow.
Munkelt argued in court Monday that he cannot be effective in representing Siegfried without the continuance. He complained that Ow has indicated she would present prior acts of domestic violence at trial but that she did not provide specifics. He also argued that Ow had provided a transcript of voicemails from Siegfried to the victim, Anna Oliver, that included taped comments made by Oliver and the investigating deputy. He told Anderson that because of the multiple changes in attorneys, he had to wade through multiple copies of some evidence and that some of it was mislabeled; he added that he did not realize he was missing some of the evidence until recently.
In a rare move, a tearful Oliver spoke at the hearing, telling Anderson, “I’m just ready for this to be done … I have to relive everything that went on.”
Ow argued that Munkelt’s lack of preparation was not good cause to postpone the trial, saying no evidence had been presented that showed due diligence. She noted that she had not yet received an exhibit or witness list from Munkelt, referring to his “audacity” in claiming she had not met her obligations.
Anderson said he recognized the importance of effective assistance to the defendant but said the issues raised by Munkelt could be dealt with at trial.
Jury selection and pre-trial motions were scheduled for this morning.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.