Banda's Attorney Make an Unusual Move

Fresno, CA, USA A Santa Barbara judge found no wrongdoing in the way a judge here in Tulare County has handled the proceedings so far against Jorge Banda. Banda was found competent to stand trial but his attorney says he's insane and more doctors are being ordered to evaluate him.

Jorge Banda is accused in the deadly shooting of Tulare County Sheriff's Detective Kent Haws back in December of 2007. Since then there have been a number of court proceedings, including a competency trial which ultimately found Banda mentally able to have his case head to trial.

After that ruling, Banda's attorney tried to disqualify the judge from the case saying Judge Darryl Ferguson prematurely denied a change of venue motion and acted unfairly when ruling on other motions. The claim prompted an out-of-county judge to look at all the proceedings up to this point.

Prosecutor David Alavezos said, "They just made some claims about the court not being fair. The out of county judge ruled there's no basis for those claims."

ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says trying to disqualify a judge in the middle of court proceedings is uncommon.

"I think it's rare this is one of the first times I've heard of that happening it's not a normal procedure that's follow," said Capozzi.

Banda's attorney also insists his client is insane.

Defense Attorney Neal Pedowitz said, "I believe my client does not understand what he was doing at the time the offense is alleged to have occurred."

Back in August Banda entered a "not guilty by reason of insanity" plea to the murder charges. Now a judge must appoint two doctors to evaluate his sanity, even though he was already found competent.

"He can go to trial because he's competent but his defense would be because I believe these certain things I am insane and you can't find me guilty because I am not of the right mind that's the difference," said Capozzi.

Banda's attorney also says his client is mentally retarded and more doctors will evaluate him on that aspect during the trial. A person deemed mentally retarded is not eligible for the death penalty, which the prosecution is pursuing.

Jorge Banda will be back in court next week where a judge will appoint two doctors to evaluate his sanity.


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