It's difficult to imagine a more heated Orange County courtroom today than the one in which Superior Court Judge James A. Stotler presided over contentious, pretrial disputes in the case of People v. Daniel Wozniak, the local actor turned gory, decapitation murderer.
Wozniak: Temporarily playing a non-speaking role
Wozniak--merely a smiling, upbeat observer at today's hearing--long ago admitted his guilt in a bizarre, May 2010 double murder, but the battle over whether he's suitable for California's death row at San Quentin State Prison is crawling like a race between two heavily sedated, senile turtles.
That's not to suggest the fight between prosecutor Matt Murphy and public defender Scott Sanders hasn't been intense and colorful as we approach a scheduled February trial date to determine punishment. It has. As a result, the mild-mannered Stotler found himself repeatedly playing boxing referee and not satisfying either lawyer, each of whom insists he has been the victim of his opponent's crass plotting, theatrics and paranoia.
For example, Murphy blasted Sanders for planning to file an upcoming 20,000-page motion by pointing out that the combined texts of War and Peace, Moby Dick, The U.S. Constitution, Gettysburg Address, IIiad, Odyssey, New King James Bible and Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking total 14,000 fewer words.More »