SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Orange County Superior Court denied inmate Daniel Wozniak's public defender's motion to preserve evidence in his death penalty appeal. The motion, filed by the defense in May 2017, was an unsuccessful attempt to preserve what the Orange County Public Defender (Public Defender) purported to be “informant related evidence” in the People v. Daniel Wozniak case. The Honorable John D. Conley filed the court's order denying the motion on June 2, 2017.
Circumstances of the Case
On May 21, 2010, Wozniak murdered his neighbor, 26-year-old Sam Herr, and the next day, the defendant killed Herr's friend Juri “Julie” Kibuishi. After a thorough investigation, Wozniak was arrested on May 28, 2010, and subsequently charged with two felony counts of murder with special circumstances for committing multiple murders, murder for financial gain, and the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.
On Dec. 16, 2015, the defendant was found guilty by a jury of all charges, and the jury recommended the death penalty for Wozniak's special circumstances murder conviction on Jan. 11, 2016. He was sentenced to death by the court on Sept. 23, 2016, and his case is currently on automatic appeal to the California Supreme Court.
Public Defender's Motion
On May 10, 2017, the Public Defender submitted an 84-page brief detailing his request motion to preserve evidence in the Wozniak case, followed by three 3-ring binders of exhibits, totaling approximately 900 pages. As the court opined, the Public Defender lacks standing for the request, as he is “no longer the attorney of record for Mr. Wozniak.” The appeals process has begun and the California Supreme Court will be appointing an attorney for the inmate, however the Orange County Superior Court must resolve all discovery issues as the trial court.
Basis of the Court's Ruling
The court issued the following opinion:
“The trouble with the defendant's argument is that, despite his continuing claims, this was not an informant case,” the court stated. “One might have difficulty gleaning this from the defendant's brief,” but no informants testified in Wozniak's trial or had statements included in any way, so informant claims in the case are, “legally a ‘dead end street': they lead to no relevant evidence.”
The court noted it permanently retains all records related to capital felonies, and said in their order stated, “the defendant has taken an approach of asking for everything that he can think of to be preserved.” The court found no legal basis for the Public Defender's request that they order the preservation of hundreds of thousands of documents going back 36 years, long before the case and some before Wozniak was born.
The Public Defender wrote dozens of pages regarding People v. Skylar Deleon, claiming Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy was on notice of an informant program. Judge Conley stated in his order that Murphy told the jury the informant was offered no consideration for his testimony, no evidence was presented that he did, and, “as the court sees it, there is no evidence of misconduct on the part of Mr. Murphy' in either the Deleon or Wozniak trials.”
OCDA Response to the Court's Ruling
The jury came back in record time to deliver the death penalty in the Wozniak case. He earned his spot on death row because he is a repugnant murderer who lured and murdered a decorated combat marine so he could steal the money that Sam saved by fighting for our country, and he lured and murdered Julie, who by all accounts was full of sunlight and beauty, just to frame Sam.
During the hearing, the Public Defender admitted the court absolved the prosecutor of all wrongdoing. The Public Defender, as he did throughout this entire case, has made irresponsible and untruthful allegations against prosecutors, police, and even the victims. Hopefully the Public Defender will let Wozniak's attorney litigate future motions.
*No informant testimony or statements were used in the Wozniak trial and the OC Public Defender is no longer the attorney of record in the case
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 12ZF0137 / June 05, 2017