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Monday, February 16, 2009

CA Tow Case Defendant Asks For Continuance

Here's the story from the Morgan Hill Times:

A San Jose judge continued a case involving scores of criminal charges stemming from a tow truck scam so that one of the defendants can have an attorney present when the judge rules on his most recent motion for co-counsel.

Vincent Cardinalli Sr., 65, scrapped his defense attorney months ago to take up the effort himself. However, he submitted a motion to the court requesting advisory counsel, then changed him mind and requested co-counsel. At a Wednesday morning hearing, he then asked the presiding judge to grant a continuance so that one of his previous attorneys could be present in case the motion was granted. Though Superior Court Judge Vincent Chiarello gave a tentative ruling that would deny Cardinalli's request for co-counsel, advisory counsel or standby counsel, he postponed the case for six weeks until 11 a.m. March 25 in Department 43 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, Deputy District Attorney Dale Lohman said.

"We just lost another six weeks," Lohman said, "only to have Mr. Cardinalli's attorney be told he's not going to be in the case."

If Chiarello does, in fact, deny the motion for co-counsel, Cardinalli will either represent himself as he initially chose or he will be assigned an attorney by the courts.

At a second hearing Wednesday afternoon, Cardinalli filed a request for a copy of a court file in excess of 1,000 pages, Lohman said. Since he gave her no notice, she did not know what the file contained or its relevance to the case.

A judge will rule on that request and another motion filed by Cardinalli petitioning for access to discovery items from another one of his former lawyers, 1:30 p.m. March 4 in Department 23 at the Hall of Justice.

A third hearing will be held 2 p.m. March 11 in Department 23 to set a date for the case's preliminary hearing. However, until the other issues are resolved, Lohman didn't think it likely that a date could be set.

"I'm still hoping we'll be assigned one judge," Lohman said. "We have all sorts of dates in front of all sorts of judges. When one of them is confronted with this ever-mounting pile of court dates and information, they throw up their hands and continue it."

Cardinalli, his son Paul Greer, 31 - formerly Vincent Cardinalli, Jr. - Greer's sister, Rosemary Ball, and her husband, Michael Ball, face 169 counts of conspiracy, perjury, forgery, attempted grand theft and other felony charges stemming from hundreds of lawsu its filed by Cardinalli and Greer in hopes of collecting towing and storage fees for their now defunct towing businesses.

The family is accused of knowingly suing motorists who previously had sold or donated cars years before they were towed, and in some cases they sued people who had never owned the vehicle at all, court documents allege.

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