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SB D.A. Zonen kicked off of case

Prosecutor
Is Removed From Jesse James Hollywood Murder Case

By Steve Chawkins, Times
Staff Writer
October 6, 2006

A state appeals court has
booted a Santa Barbara County prosecutor from the case of accused killer Jesse
James Hollywood because the attorney shared his investigative files with a
movie director.

According to the ruling,
Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Ron Zonen overstepped his bounds
in cooperating with Nick Cassavetes, writer and director of "Alpha
Dog," a film starring Sharon Stone, Bruce Willis and Justin Timberlake.
The movie, which was shown at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, deals
fictionally with the slaying of a San Fernando Valley teenager after a drug
deal gone sour.

Zonen, who was one of the
prosecutors in the Michael Jackson case, was on vacation
Thursday and could not be reached for comment.

In the past he has said that he was relying on the film to help locate
Hollywood, who was a fugitive at the time…

"To say that Zonen went too far in his attempt to apprehend petitioner is
an understatement,"
the ruling stated. "We are aware of no authority
allowing a public prosecutor to give away, even temporarily, public property,
especially when that property contains highly sensitive confidential
information in a pending case."

The appeals judges denied a request by James Blatt, Hollywood’s defense
attorney, to throw the entire Santa Barbara County district attorney’s office
off the case. Blatt said he might appeal that part of the decision.

steve.chawkins@latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-hollywood6oct06,1,4746639.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

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