Why is he so concerned about the criticism of government
officials in the Scott Dyleski murder trial?

by Kathryn Joanne Dixon

On November 21, 2005 Contra Costa Superior Court Judge David B. Flinn issued a gag order in the case of People v. Scott Edgar Dyleski  (Case No. 3-219113-8). (Click to read article).  The San Francisco Chronicle and attorney Gloria Allred, a famous TV pundit, vigorously opposed the motion to no avail.

Deputy D.A. Hal Jewett, the top murder trial man for the Contra Costa DA’s office, fervently wanted the gag order.  He appeared before Judge Flinn with a ream of internet articles emphasizing the amount of press coverage and how it could devastate the defendant’s right to a fair trial.  

On January 11, 2006 Attorney Gloria Allred who represents a witness, Scott Dyleski's teenage girlfriend, and her law firm Allred Maroko & Goldberg, filed an appeal to the First District.  Their attorney is Michael D. Seplow.  The San Francisco Chronicle also filed a brief in that appeal.  Allred’s petition for writ of mandate, prohibition and request for stay were denied on January 12, 2006 (Case No. A112615).  On January 23, 2006, Attorney Allred appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of California (Case No. S140816) and on February 15, 2006 her petition for review was denied. Justice Kennard was of the opinion the petition should be granted and Justice George, C. J., was absenta and did not participate. The San Francisco Chronicle did not appeal to the Supreme Court.

Suddenly the big cat leapt out of the bag.  Hal Jewett was not only concerned with a fair trial for the defendant, but he was worried about any criticism of government officials.

In her brief, Gloria Allred’s attorney states:

Under the DA’s reading of the protective order, any public statement by Petitioners which criticizes the actions of government officials and accuses them of misconduct with respect to petitioner’s client, a potential witness, would be a violation of the protective order.  Ex. 27: App. At 25 p. 3.

Allred's attorney explains the Constitutional effects of Jewett’s position:

Given the position taken by the DA in this case, Petitioners have been chilled from making out of court statement critical of the police or the prosecution for fear the DA will seek to punish them.  In a democracy there can be no justification whatsoever for a rule that prohibits public criticism of government officials.

Allred also told the Supreme Court that she offered to voluntarily produce her client/witness for questioning and instead officers appeared with guns drawn to serve a warrant on the client/witness.

Finally Allred’s lawyer points out:

At issue in this petition is a trial court order that prohibits petitioner’s attorney Gloria Allred and her law firm from participating in public commentary and debate about issues indisputably in the public domain relating to a high profile, criminal proceeding simply because the judge believes that her comments might draw more attention to the case.

Why is deputy D.A. Hal Jewett so concerned about criticism of the government?

First, Contra Costa County Judges are entangled in making rulings in both the Polk and Dyleski case.  For example, on February 9, 2006, Judge Thomas Maddock appointed Mary Ann O’Malley as judge the judge to hear for the entire Dyleski court proceedings.  Judge Mary Ann O’Malley and her husband William “Dan” O’Malley made important decisions in the Susan Polk trial.  Eventually Judge Dan O’Malley recused himself in that case.

Second, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office is handling both the Polk and Dyleski murder trials. Susan Polk herself claims the cases are related because of statements Daniel Horowitz made to her.  That is yet to be proven.  What can be shown is that Daniel Horowitz did request, via a motion to Judge Laurel Brady that the Contra Costa District Attorney commence a criminal investigation of certain parties who were seeking to negotiate favorable settlements of estate claims regarding Susan Polk, just before her trial.  That motion was denied.  Thus, it appears from the court file that the Contra Costa County District Attorney did not act upon that motion which requested an investigation into third parties.  Susan Polk claims estate fraud is at least a partial motivation behind those testifying against her and seeking to put her away for life.  At stake is the Polk estate valued at over $2 million.

For those who have not been following the cases, the essential time-line which connects the Polk and Dyleski cases is set forth.

At 5:53 p.m. on October 15, 2005 a Contra County deputy sheriff heard Daniel Horowitz scream over a phone line, "Help me, she's dead!"  Horowitz had entered his trailer home on a hill in Lafayette and found his wife brutally murdered.  Only four days before, Horowitz delivered an opening argument in the case of People vs. Susan Polk where he painted her former husband as a demented aggressive brutal schizophrenic, thus explicating her justification of self defense – that he came at her with a knife while on top of her and she kneed him where necessary and got control of the knife and stabbed him 4 to 6 times.  He died.

On October 17, 2005, Judge Laurel Brady declared a mistrial in the Susan Polk case, citing the impact of excessive media coverage on the jury because of the murder. On October 19, 2005 a 16-year-old neighbor of the Horowitz's was arrested for Pamela Vitale's murder.

On November 21, 2005 Contra Costa Superior Court Judge David B. Flinn issued a gag order in the case of People v. Scott Edgar Dyleski.

On July 27, 2006 opening arguments commence in the Dyleski case before Judge Barbara Zuniga..

The conduct of government officials Hal Jewett seeks to protect from criticism may yet be revealed to those who observe the court files and future hearings.

Kathryn Joanne Dixon © 2/13/06


Docket (Register of Actions)
Case Number S140816
Date Description Notes
01/23/2006 Petition for review filed Gloria Allred & Allred Maroko & Goldberg, petitioners
Michael D. Seplow, counsel
02/01/2006 Record requested  
02/17/2006 2nd record request via email
02/21/2006 Received Court of Appeal record accordian file
02/24/2006 Answer to petition for review filed People, Real Party in Interest Violet M. Lee, counsel
03/06/2006 Reply to answer to petition filed Petitioners Gloria Allred, etal
03/15/2006 Petition for review denied Kennard, J., is of the opinion the petition should be granted. George, C.J., was absenta and did not participate.