A defense attorney has given the court 18 reasons to throw out an indictment that says Columbus Allen Jr. II should face trial on suspicion of killing a California Highway Patrol officer.
In a 54-page motion, Allen's lawyer says a host of procedural quirks should prompt a Stanislaus County Superior Court judge to dismiss the capital case, a move that would force the district attorney's office to start over with a new criminal complaint.
Defense attorney Ramon Magaña also contends that prosecutors failed to present evidence that points to Allen's innocence when they showed their case to a grand jury during a three-day hearing behind closed doors in June.
The motion was scheduled for a hearing Monday, but Judge Hurl Johnson delayed the matter until April 23 because prosecutors had not been given adequate time to craft a response.
Allen, 32, of Stockton, is accused of shooting officer Earl Scott on Feb. 17, 2006, on northbound Highway 99, south of the Hammett Road exit near Salida. He is charged with murder and three special circum- stances that could lead to a death sentence if he is convicted.
Investigators focused on Allen within hours of the officer's death because Scott was gripping registration papers from a 1990 Nissan Maxima owned by Allen's wife when a passing motorist found his body lying on the shoulder of the highway.
Allen was arrested hours later, after he and his wife showed up at the Stockton Police Department to report that their car had been stolen. He has been held without bail since.