Justices stall Stark case
The state Supreme Court has given itself an extra 30 days to consider Sutter County Auditor Robert Stark's appeal of decisions by lower courts not to throw out felony charges against him, attorneys said Friday.
Sutter County Judge H. Ted Hansen was scheduled Friday to set a date for Stark's jury trial in Sutter County but continued the case until 1:30 p.m. March 10.
Stark is charged with 12 counts of misappropriating public funds. He and his assistant, Ronda Putman, also are accused of violating the Government Code. Both would lose their jobs if convicted.
Hansen earlier dismissed one felony count against Stark but let the other 12 stand. He also refused to dismiss the accusations against Stark and Putman. The ruling was upheld by the 3rd District Court of Appeal.
The jury trial is expected to proceed if the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case or rules against Stark and Putman.
The court will rule by March 3 at the latest on the accusations and by March 7 on the felony charges, said Stark's attorney, Bradley Wishek.
The defendants are not charged with using public funds for their own purposes.
Sutter County District Attorney Carl Adams filed the charges at the request of the county's previous Grand Jury.
Stark has sued the Board of Supervisors in U.S. District Court, claiming that the board acted illegally in ordering him to transfer funds and violated his First Amendment rights. The lawsuit also asks that the board pay his attorney fees.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Rob Young can be reached at 749-4710. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.