A judge on Friday refused a request by prosecutors to dismiss criminal charges against a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend accused of drugging and raping several women, and he raised concerns about the Orange County District Attorney’s Office’s ability to continue being involved in the case.
The ruling by Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregory Jones marks the latest surprise turn in a high-profile criminal case against Dr. Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley that has drawn international attention.
Both the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and attorney’s for Robicheaux and Riley are arguing that the sexual assault and kidnapping charges should be dismissed, over objections from attorneys for the victims.
During a brief video-conference hearing Friday, Judge Jones not only stated that dropping the charges would not be in the public’s interest, but he also said that the public confidence in the case could be “severely undermined” if the Orange County District Attorney’s Office remains involved.
The judge gave the DA’s office a week respond to his concerns.
Robicheaux and Riley’s attorneys demanded a quick move to a preliminary hearing, where a judge decides if there is enough evidence for a case to go to jury trial.
The DA’s office and the couple’s defense attorneys did not immediately respond to the ruling.
Robicheaux and Riley are both facing three counts of kidnapping with intent to commit sexual offense, among other charges connected to seven women.
The judge, in a written opinion released after his ruling, stressed that he was not “weighing or evaluating the strength or weakness of anticipated evidence,” but said it was “puzzling” that he was being asked to dismiss the case before any alleged victims have the opportunity to testify.
“The public has heard from the politicians,” Jones wrote. “The public has never heard from the alleged victims. Any objective analysis of this case leads to the conclusion that these charges should be put before a jury. A back-room dismissal by prosecutors without the alleged victims ever having the opportunity to be heard is contrary to the core values of our legal process and the interests of the public.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Source: Orange County Register