Illustration by Daniel Stolle for Voice of San Diego
Illustration by Daniel Stolle for Voice of San Diego

This post originally appeared in the July 13 Morning Report. Click here to get the daily newsletter in your inbox today.

A San Diego case that’s testing the limits of a statewide criminal justice reform was postponed, yet again, on Tuesday.

As Jesse Marx reported in March, Brian Mason has been serving a sentence of life without parole since 2000 for his role in a motel room robbery that ended in a fatality, even though he didn’t pull the trigger. Mason was given a chance to re-open the case and request a lesser sentence after California lawmakers scaled back the definition of a felony murder.

He’s been entitled to this new evidentiary hearing since 2019, but it’ll have to wait another three months. Participants in the courtroom on Tuesday learned that part of the George Bailey Detention Facility, where Mason is being temporarily housed, is in lockdown for a couple days after someone may have tested positive for COVID.

Frustrated by the timeline of the case, attorneys for both the defense and the district attorney offered to reschedule the hearing for Wednesday — so long as Mason could produce a negative test — but the court considered the request “extraordinary.”

Judge David Berry said he appreciated the defense’s “zealous advocacy” to get moving but needed to find another date. Because of scheduling conflicts, the court is now expected to hear the case on October 5. 

Jesse Marx is Voice of San Diego's associate editor.

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