In a brief court hearing today (December 5) for the San Francisco 8, nothing was decided. Everything was carried over.The purpose of this hearing was to schedule the start of the preliminary hearing to establish whether there is probable cause to bring the case to trial; Judge Philip Moscone had previously stated his intention to start that hearing in early January. However, the prosecutor, David Druliner of the California Attorney General's office, announced that his office was still preparing thousands more pages of discovery yet to be turned over to the defense, and suggested a mid-April start. He has already given the defense 150,000 pages.
Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim (aka Anthony Bottom) requested, through their lawyers Stuart Hanlon and Mark Goldrosen, that the judge impose a cut-off date for discovery and set the preliminary hearing date for January 5, 2009, as they are anxious to move the case forward and the continual delay by the prosecution is unreasonable by established legal standards.
Defense counsel raised the possibility of severing one or more of the defendants and proceeding to separate trials. When Judge Moscone asked whether severance would impact the case, Mr. Druliner responded that the case would then "fragment like a grenade through the court system," tying up his staff as well as court and jail staff. The judge acknowledged the logistical implications of severance, but noted that it might be necessary anyway. He also noted that if the case does proceed beyond the preliminary hearing, there would be an evidentiary hearing on the defense's motion to dismiss the charges. All of this before a possible actual trial.