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Teen's Lawyer Fights Trial in Adult Court

November 22, 2000|TRACY WILSON

A defense lawyer for a 17-year-old Oxnard boy facing murder charges in the fatal shooting of a Santa Paula woman says he will fight a decision by prosecutors to try his client as an adult.

Isaac Daniel Lara is the first teenage murder defendant in Ventura County to be charged as an adult under Proposition 21.

The measure, approved by voters in March, allows prosecutors to avoid juvenile court proceedings and directly file charges in Superior Court against teenagers accused of certain felony offenses.

Lara, who is charged with murder, attempted murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle andusing a firearm, appeared for an arraignment in Superior Court on Tuesday. He did not enter a plea.

During the hearing, Deputy Public Defender William Markov told the judge he plans to file a motion in opposition to the district attorney's decision--a challenge that lawyers say may be among the first to test the new law.

"We definitely have to look at the issues with it being such a new piece of legislation," Markov said after the hearing.

Those issues are expected to be taken up at a Dec. 19 hearing.

So far, prosecutors have filed five juvenile cases in adult court, including Lara's, since the passage of Proposition 21, said Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Holmes.

Lara is accused of shooting Joanna Maria Orozco, 21, and her friend, Shane Joseph Longoria, 22, during a dispute Nov. 7 at a house in Santa Paula.

According to authorities, Lara asked Longoria if he was a gang member and then briefly argued with Orozco before killing her and shooting Longoria in the arm.

Lara was arrested after a brief standoff with police at his relatives' home in Santa Paula.

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