Defense attorney seeks dismissal in Layla Callahan kidnapping case
Layla Callahan’s defense attorney argues in court documents that a Nevada County judge could dismiss her kidnapping case, citing “prosecutorial misconduct” and a witness facing criminal charges himself.
However, a Nevada County prosecutor said the case’s dismissal would be outrageous.
Callahan, 24, was scheduled Monday for sentencing on a felony kidnapping charge. Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger has indicated Callahan would receive probation. Prosecutors have dismissed charges of robbery and false imprisonment.
Zenia Gilg, Callahan’s defense attorney, asked the judge in March to delay sentencing until Monday. Gilg had said she received information about the victim, Christopher Ross, in Callahan’s case.
Ross was arrested shortly after Callahan pleaded no contest. Authorities have said they found him with an open syringe, a loaded Glock and a magazine for the weapon.
Additional information arose after last month’s hearing, leading Gilg to expand her accusations against Ross. She said he faces more criminal accusations.
Gilg claims Ross is a danger to the community, and that prosecutors have repeatedly shown him leniency in criminal accusations.
“And again, the motivations for allowing him cannot be reasonably explained but for an improper desire to distort the evidence in this case,” Gilg states.
Dismissing Callahan’s case would serve as a deterrent to prosecutorial misconduct, she adds.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said Ross hasn’t faced certain felonies because the accusations against him don’t warrant the higher charge. He opposes the dismissal of Callahan’s case.
“The defense is trying to focus on Christopher Ross and issues he clearly has but that does not provide Layla Callahan an excuse for her crimes,” Walsh said in an email. “The serious nature of these offenses are crimes not simply against Christopher Ross but are crimes against our community in general.”
Callahan’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 6. At that time the judge could call for a special hearing to examine evidence, rule on Gilg’s request or sentence Callahan.
Authorities had accused Callahan and David Munoz, 27, in February 2017 of holding Ross over a drug debt. Munoz late last year pleaded no contest to second-degree robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment. Heidelberger sentenced him to five years’ probation.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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