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Duran's defense presses for more time before testimony

Prosecutors say they are ready to present key evidence
By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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Since being jailed on nine attempted murder charges, Roseville's Samuel Duran has held the posture of a man who wants his day in court.

On Tuesday, the alleged cop-shooter's attorney argued to Judge Colleen Nichols that hearing testimony against his client in mid-December, as planned, would not be in the interest of justice. 

In Duran's earliest court appearances, he had refused to waive his right to a speedy trial. Two weeks ago, he allowed his attorney, Public Defender John Mustafa, to enter a temporary 10-day time waiver before police officers and other witnesses testified against Duran in a preliminary hearing. Duran's 10-day time waiver equaled an agreement to far fewer days than most Placer County criminal defendants ask for, and are typically allowed. Duran's prelim was scheduled for Dec. 16.

However, on Tuesday morning, Mustafa asked for yet another reprieve that would allow him extended time to review the district attorney's case against Duran. Citing more than 104 pages of police reports, video evidence and audio recordings, Mustafa told the court he needed more time to prepare a defense.

Placer County Deputy District Attorney Doug Van Breemen opposed Mustafa's motion for a continuance. 

"The People are opposing this delay," Van Breemen told the judge. "We're ready to go. We understand there's absolutely a substantial amount of evidence in this case, but we think the December date is appropriate — and the delay is premature, because the defense has what they need as we get closer."

Nichols was not convinced. 

"Given the types of evidence and the amount of evidence — more than 100 pages with video and audio — I don't think this is the type of case we want to rush too quickly," the judge said. "I know the People are ready, so I still want to keep it on a tight track. Hopefully we can get the prelim reset for sometime in January."

Nichols asked Duran if he was agreeing to the delay. The suspect took a pause before mumbling, "yes." 

Duran is currently charged with more than 24 felonies in connection to his alleged shoot-out with federal and local law enforcement Oct. 25. During his Tuesday appearance, he sat near his relative Antonio Duran, who was one of 35 individuals arrested or detained last week in a major gang suppression operation.