Embezzlement suspect’s challenge to charges denied | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Embezzlement suspect’s challenge to charges denied

William Ferchland

An attempt by the defense to dismiss charges by filing the seldom-used demurrer failed when a judge said the embezzlement case of Mary Kay McLanahan will go on.

C. David Eyster used the demurrer to state the charges filed against his client did not hold legal ground even though they might be true.

McLanahan, a former associate planner for the city of South Lake Tahoe, is accused of stealing coveted and unique building rights. She allegedly sold three to a real estate agent for money and drugs.

Eyster, an attorney out of Elk Grove, filed the demurrer based on the complaint by the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office.

The complaint said the charges lacked a reason why the court should have jurisdiction on the matter and was unclear on the charges, Eyster contended.

He also believed the dates of the alleged offenses were too broad. They spanned a decade, from 1991 to 2001.

“Depending on the evidence to be presented at the preliminary examination, the district attorney may be required to plead with greater specificity,” stated the court’s written ruling, signed by Judge Thomas Smith. “With respect to the subject criminal complaint, however, defendant’s demurrer on these grounds is overruled.”

Eyster held his surprise in check. He said the district attorney’s office agreed to his demurrer on two of the three criminal counts.

“It makes very little legal sense to me,” Eyster said to Judge Jerald Lasarow.

“You’re befuddled,” Lasarow said.

Next is a preliminary hearing where witnesses are called for testimony. A judge uses the preliminary hearing in criminal cases to determine if enough evidence exists to go forward with a trial.

McLanahan’s case will next be heard June 7 at 8:30 a.m. to set the preliminary hearing date. McLanahan is not required to attend and Eyster will likely call by phone.

Lasarow said there will be opportunity to revisit the ruling on the demurrer again.

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