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Judge delays sex trial of former officer.

Byline: Bill Bishop The Register-Guard

A judge on Friday postponed the trial of ex-Eugene police officer Roger Eugene Magana to allow his defense lawyer more time to review a growing volume of evidence being gathered by the prosecutor.

The trial, expected to stretch for a month, is now scheduled to begin June 2 before Lane County Circuit Judge Karsten Rasmussen. Magana, 40, faces 52 charges ranging from first-degree rape to harassment involving 14 women. If convicted on the major charges, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Defense lawyer Russell Barnett asked for more time to review thousands of pages of documents and to investigate statements by more than 20 witnesses who may be called during the trial.

In court, Barnett noted prosecutors have not yet completed DNA testing. Depending on the results, the defense may need to find experts to repeat the tests or to analyze the conclusions, he said.

Deputy Lane County District Attorney Bob Lane did not object to the delay. In court, he said investigators continue turning up new leads. For example, he said they recently learned of "thousands of dollars of cash transactions" by Magana that raise new questions about the ex-patrol officer's conduct.

Lane said new information probably will continue to flow to Barnett right up to the day the trial starts.

"There is never going to be a static period in this case," Lane told the judge. "We are going to investigate up to and including the time of trial."

Rasmussen also rejected Barnett's request to review records of misconduct by other police officers as part of an effort to prove Magana is being singled out for criminal prosecution - in violation of constitutional guarantees of equal treatment. The judge told Barnett that there are no legal grounds to authorize such a review.

A gag order forbids both sides from commenting publicly about evidence in the case. The public case file contains no information about new allegations against Magana.
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Title Annotation:Crime; The defense attorney seeks more time to study evidence, and the prosecutor says new leads are turning up
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 13, 2004
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