D.A. wants to keep DeVaul defense on the downlow



The District Attorney’s office is seeking to “seal,” or keep secret, declarations that could help with Dan DeVaul’s defense.

DeVaul, the ranch owner and founder of Sunny Acres sober living home, has been charged with criminal violations of county codes. In his defense, attorney Jeffrey Stulberg hopes to argue that DeVaul was compelled to violate codes because people would have been in far more dangerous circumstances if they’d remained homeless or outside of residential treatment.

The declarations in question are from Sunny Acres residents, presumably discussing their circumstances before and after they came to the ranch.

The defense is akin to the idea that a person can speed on the way to the hospital in an emergency, but Deputy District Attorney Craig Van Rooyan has tried to get Judge John Trice to bar DeVaul from using it. Trice, however, said he wanted to see examples of what the residents would say.

In a Feb. 4 filing, Van Rooyan asked the court to seal the declarations from public view, arguing they could taint a jury pool. He didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time. The trial is scheduled for Feb. 27.

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