A Sonoma County judge ruled against a Healdsburg murder suspect Wednesday who sought to have his case dismissed on the grounds that detectives improperly eavesdropped on a jailhouse conversation he had with his brother.
Jarrod Miller, 29, is accused of killing his sister's boyfriend, Timothy Neuer, also 29, in a March 8 shooting near Alexander Valley.
His lawyer, Joseph Bisbiglia, alleged prosecutorial misconduct after a secret recording was made by sheriff's investigators of a March 14 visit between Miller and his older brother, Chad.
Bisbiglia argued the brother was acting as a "state agent" because he was urged by Detective Brandon Cutting to make the visit.
He argued Cutting broke the law because Chad Miller, an ex-felon, didn't receive special permission to enter the jail. And he alleged Cutting's electronic device illegally recorded a conversation between an unrelated defendant and his attorney.
Bisbigilia sought to have the case dismissed or the District Attorney's Office removed from it because of conflict of interest.
But Judge Arthur Wick in an eight-page ruling found there was no evidence the district attorney engaged in any misconduct that would warrant recusal.
He said Miller could not obtain a dismissal because the inadvertent eavesdropping involved another defendant.
Further, Wick said Cutting did not send Chad Miller to visit his brother. Rather, he found out by chance that Miller was going to make the visit and used a two-hour delay to place the recording device.
"This undermines any argument that Detective Cutting used Chad as an agent of the government," Wick wrote.
Shelters for Pawnee fire evacuees
Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake St., Lower Lake, is the official shelter established for people evacuating from the Pawnee fire. It is equipped to handle animals.
The Clearlake Oaks Moose Lodge, 15900 E. Highway 20, Clearlake Oaks, is not authorized by the Office of Emergency Services but is also sheltering fire evacuees, mostly people in campers and RVs who want their animals with them.
There is an authorized Lake County animal services station in an open field at Highway 53 and Anderson Ridge Road in Lower Lake.