Brooks pursues appeal in road-rage case
Nearly a year after Timothy Brooks was found guilty of stabbing Robert Ash to death in downtown Tahoe City, he sits in a Solano County prison while his lawyers challenge his conviction.
Brooks, 27, was convicted last April of second-degree murder for stabbing Ash, 48, outside Syd’s Bagelry in Tahoe City in August 2005. Both men resided in Truckee.
Brooks was denied a retrial last June and was sentenced to serve 16 years to life by Placer County Superior Court Judge Robert McElhany.
Following Brooks’ sentencing, defense attorney Marcus Topel filed an appeal with the California Attorney General’s office in Sacramento and filed an opening brief in October.
The appeal raised “issues of the break in jury deliberations for a week, which we think is very prejudicial,” Topel said.
The attorney general’s office handles all criminal appeals and filed a response to Brooks’ appeal on Feb. 22.
In its brief, the attorney general’s office rebutted the jury-break complaint, saying the court adopted a schedule excusing the jury for one week at the outset of the trial, and the defendant’s counsel did not object.
But Topel also said the evidence was insufficient to find Brooks guilty of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.
Brooks’ final brief will be filed today, according to Nathan Barankin, the attorney general’s chief public information officer.
When the briefing is complete the courts will set a date for oral argument before an appellate judge, likely by early summer, Topel said.
The the court has 90 days to decide the case.
If the appeal is denied, Topel said he will bring the case to the California Supreme Court.
“I think we have very strong arguments,” he said.
Brooks does not have the right to attend the appeal proceedings, Barankin said.
He is currently at the California State Prison in Vacaville, Topel said.
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