A motion was filed in Calaveras County Superior court on Dec. 26 that seeks to alter the guidelines surrounding the case of man accused of striking two women with his boat while under the influence of a controlled substance last year.
Dean Allen Payne, 53, of Copperopolis, is awaiting trial for allegedly striking and injuring two women with his boat in the waters of Lake Tulloch on July 24, 2016, while under the influence of a controlled substance.
Robin Tsai and Rachael Pringle, the two victims in the case, fell into comas due to injuries sustained during the incident.
The first item on the motion requested that the jury be allowed to inspect the boat that Payne was allegedly controlling during the collision. According to the motion, the boat is currently being held at the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, adjacent to the courthouse.
“The best way to demonstrate the size and nature of the defendant’s vessel is to let the jurors look at it,” the motion reads.
The second item in the motion sought to admit photographs of the victims before and after the date of the alleged offenses.
“Similarly, the photographs in this case, while highly relevant, depict severe trauma to the human body,” the motion said.
The photographs, according to the motion, are relevant to each count following Payne’s not guilty plea.
“While the people anticipate introducing testimony by medical doctors describing the injuries, the photographs will aid the jury in understanding that testimony, and corroborating evidence, should not be excluded as cumulative,” the motion reads.
The motion also seeks to limit the use of the word “accident.” According to the motion, the word accident carries various connotations and opens the door for “misuse” by the defense and the jury.
Accident, per the motion, can be used in two different ways: to infer a “state of mind” and to infer an “event.” The motion seeks to keep the term accident close to the “event” definition, and not the “state of mind” of the person who allegedly committed the crime.
“Jurors, upon hearing the word ‘accident’ will no doubt conjure up ideations congruent with the lay definition of accident. Even if prior to deliberations the court instructs the jury that ‘accident’ means something very different in the eyes of the law, the people will have already suffered undue prejudice,” the motion reads.
The prosecution is also attempting to bar the testimony of defense expert Michael Braun unless a report or statement is issued.
“If Braun prepared (prepares) a written report regarding the subject of his testimony, the people are entitled to a copy. If Mr. Braun does not prepare a written report, the people are entitled to discovery of the handwritten or typed notes of Mr. Braun.”
The motion also said that if the defense fails to comply with the discovery obligations, the defense should be barred from calling Braun as a witness.
The final two portions of the motion involve prior convictions for driving under the influence. According to the motion, Payne’s prior convictions should be allowed to be admitted as evidence. Payne was previously convicted for driving under the influence on O’Byrnes Ferry Road.
Payne is currently scheduled to return to court on Jan. 9 for a trial readiness conference before returning to court on Jan. 16 for a trial confirmation conference. According to court records, a 10-day jury trial is expected to begin on Jan. 17 at 8:30 a.m.