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PD’S OFFICE REMOVED FROM DEATH CASE SAN JOSE — A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge yanked the public defender’s office off a death penalty case against an accused cop-killer, citing the defendant’s refusal to waive his attorney’s conflict of interest. Judge Marcel Poch é concluded that Deputy Public Defender Charles Gillan had created a conflict when he helped fill out paperwork in a civil suit, filed by the victim’s family, that named his client as well as his client’s father, a potential prosecution witness. Deshawn Campbell is accused of shooting a San Jose police officer in October 2001 during a routine traffic stop. Prosecutors say Campbell’s father, Robert, is an important witness because he allegedly loaned his son the car and provided him access to a gun. Gillan has denied there is a conflict, but prosecutors pressed the point, saying they didn’t want to create an appealable issue in a death penalty case. Campbell has refused to waive the conflict of interest, while insisting he wants Gillan to continue representing him. “It’s the correct and responsible ruling,” said Assistant DA Karyn Sinunu. “We are looking to preserve our case on appeal.” But Sinunu said the resulting delay will be hard on the families and will cost the county money. Campbell will likely be appointed an attorney through the Santa Clara Legal Aid Society, which contracts with the county to provide conflicts defense. – Shannon Lafferty RYAN’S OFFICE SAYS GUN FILINGS SPIKING The Northern District U.S. attorney’s office now leads California in the prosecution of firearms-related cases. The numbers were announced by the office Monday. Last week, Attorney General John Ashcroft credited the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program — which targets gun crimes — for a decline in violent crime across the country. “Gun violence has a real potential to destroy our communities,” U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said in a statement. “We are strongly committed to use all the tools available to the federal government to make our streets safer by taking guns out of the hands of convicted felons.” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Eumi Choi said the office filed 122 gun-related cases during the last fiscal year, an increase of approximately 30 percent increase over the prior year. Gun prosecutions first started rising under former U.S. Attorney Robert Mueller III, who made them a priority. Federal Public Defender Barry Portman said his impression is that they waned under former interim U.S. Attorney David Shapiro, before ramping up again under Ryan. The government says gun prosecutions help reduce crime by removing guns and felons who carry guns from the streets. Others have criticized federal officials for padding their prosecution numbers with cases that would normally be handled in state court. Last week, Ashcroft said federal firearm prosecutions have risen 68 percent in the past three years. Seventy-two percent of the offenders were sentenced to three years or more. Including having the U.S. attorney’s office work closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and local law enforcement agencies, Project Safe Neighborhoods also involves community outreach programs. The U.S. attorney’s office here was the first office in the country to use DNA evidence to prosecute felons for possessing firearms. Both cases involved fleeing suspects who discarded firearms before they were caught by police. — Jason Hoppin SECOND DISTRICT JUSTICE RETIRING Justice Charles Vogel announced Monday that he’s retiring next month after 11 years on Los Angeles’ Second District Court of Appeal. “Throughout his distinguished career, Charles Vogel has made outstanding contributions to the administration of justice in many capacities,” Chief Justice Ronald George said in a prepared statement. “He has ably served California,” George continued, “as an appellate justice and trial court judge known for excellence in decision making, as an outstanding legal practitioner and as an effective judicial administrator — both as administrative presiding justice of the second appellate district and as presiding justice of Division Four of that court.” The 71-year-old Vogel departs the bench Jan. 31. A 1959 graduate of the UCLA School of Law, Vogel practiced law in L.A. for 10 years until he was appointed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to the Pomona Judicial District of Los Angeles County Superior Court. A year later he was elevated to the superior court where he served until re-entering private practice in 1977. Vogel returned to the bench in 1993 when then-Gov. Pete Wilson appointed him to the Second District to replace George, who had been named to the Supreme Court. Three years later, Vogel was appointed presiding justice over Division Four, and in 1997 was named the court’s administrative presiding justice. “For all this time,” Second District Justice Norman Epstein said in a prepared statement, “he has stood for, and has demonstrated, integrity, wisdom, clear and articulate reasoning, and leadership.” — Mike McKee

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