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Name: Stroud v. Superior Court
Case #: S081186
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/10/2000
Subsequent History: None

A magistrate did not abuse his discretion when he continued a preliminary hearing in a capital case for one day in order to attend a Judicial Council task force meeting in a distant location. A judicial officer’s administrative duties are not sufficient good cause by themselves to delay a preliminary examination, which is to be completed in one session unless postponed for good cause under Penal Code section 861. However, the record suggests the conflict arose because the examination had long exceeded its original time estimate. Further, no defendant objected until a day and a half before the day the meeting was to occur, even though all parties had four days’ notice. Given the overall length of the preliminary hearing, the magistrate’s explicit determination that the meeting was obligatory, the brevity of the absence, the lack of other interruptions, and the failure to show prejudice to the defendants, the one-day postponement did not violate section 861. J. Werdegar found no good cause for the continuance and therefore dissented. The internal affairs of the judicial branch do not trump the requisites of Section 861.