REDWOOD CITY -- A San Mateo County judge rejected a last-minute defense push to delay the molestation retrial of a once-renowned child psychiatrist, which started with legal motions Monday.
Judge Beth Labson Freeman told 81-year-old William Ayres' attorney Jonathan McDougall she wouldn't push back the start of the trial for a week while he pursued an appeal of one of her rulings. Monday, prosecutors began their second chance at trying Ayres on charges he molested some of the boys under his care in the 1980s and 1990s.
Following jury selection, opening arguments are expected at the end of this month.
McDougall's request for the delay came after Freeman denied his request to appoint doctors to evaluate Ayres' mental health. He claimed the stress of preparing for the retrial has worsened his client's Alzheimer's-related dementia and depression, thus keeping Ayres from being able to defend himself.
Jurors deadlocked during a 2009 prosecution on the molestation charges, which led to a mistrial. Questions about Ayres' mental health since have repeatedly slowed and at one point appeared to block his retrial. Ayres was sent to a state mental hospital in the fall of 2011 because doctors concluded he wasn't mentally competent for trial.
But the prosecution case was resuscitated in July 2011 by a state psychiatrist report that concluded Ayres faked or exaggerated his dementia in order to avoid retrial.
The prosecution opposed both the appointment of the doctors and appeal delay. Deputy district attorney Peter Lynch told Freeman it would take a major change or substantial new evidence to reopen the long-disputed issue of Ayres' mental health. Freeman agreed and McDougall said he would pursue an appeal.
Ayres was in court Monday in a wheelchair and remains out of jail on $900,000 bail.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.