Prosecutors on Friday again delayed deciding whether to file criminal charges against Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, drawing a sharp response from critics including the lawyer for a Santa Rosa woman police contend was the target of an attempted sexual assault.
It was the third postponement requested by prosecutors since Carrillo's arrest in July on suspicion of prowling and burglary. Officers responding to early morning 911 calls from the woman found the 32-year-old supervisor nearby in just his socks and underwear and carrying a cellphone.
Her bedroom window screen was torn, police said.
Cody Hunt, a lawyer for the state Attorney General's Office, said the investigation is ongoing and he needed more time to determine what charges, if any, would be filed.
He said his office had just received unspecified documents related to the case and he expected a decision "shortly."
"We're working diligently, your honor," Hunt told Judge Gary Medvigy.
The woman's lawyer, former Sonoma County prosecutor Rosanne Darling, told Medvigy that her client is frustrated by the time it is taking and fears the delay is related to Carrillo's political position.
"We believe another delay offends her dignity and her right to be heard," Darling said.
Medvigy said he was powerless to speed the process and set the next court date for Nov. 1.
Carrillo declined to comment on the proceeding or Darling's statements. He would be removed from office if convicted of a felony.
"I cannot comment on the legal case," he said outside the courthouse. "There's a process in place and I just can't comment."
His lawyer, Chris Andrian, rejected the suggestion that politics played a role in the delay. He said Darling asked for many similar delays in her time as a prosecutor.
"It happens," Andrian said. "It's part of the way the system works."
He added: "I don't think it's fair to accuse anyone."
A spokesman for Attorney General Kamala Harris declined to comment on the case.
A least a dozen of Carrillo's family members and supporters attended the hearing.
"I'm just here to support him," said Marcos Suarez, a past president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Sonoma County. "I'm hoping we can move forward and put this behind us."
A handful of Carrillo's critics were present. They echoed the comments made by Darling.
"I think we heard loud and clear from the attorney of the victim about the lack of respect for her dignity in the delays," said Alice Chan, a Sebastopol-based Democratic Party activist who has vowed to push for a recall effort against Carrillo.
Darling said she didn't know if her client would pursue civil action against Carrillo.
The county supervisor was arrested in the early morning hours of July 13 after police received a 911 call from a woman who lives near Stony Point Road and West Third Street. She said she was awakened by the sound of rustling blinds and saw a man outside her bedroom window. In a second 911 call, she said the person knocked on her door, identified himself as a neighbor and ran away.
Police arrived to find a torn window screen. Carrillo, who at the time was a neighbor of the woman, was arrested nearby. He could not offer a clear explanation for his behavior, police said.