Sentencing is set to go ahead as planned next week for a Santa Maria woman who murdered her 3-year-old foster son, after a Superior Court judge denied her request for a new attorney.
Sylvia Dominguez, 30, and her attorney, Senior Deputy Public Defender David Ogren, took part Friday in a closed hearing with Judge Edward Bullard in which they apparently discussed Dominguez’s concerns over her legal representation.
When a defendant indicates he or she wants a new lawyer, the judge must hold a “Marsden hearing” if the attorney is court-appointed. A hearing on a Marsden motion is what transpired Friday.
In order to obtain new counsel, the defendant must show that representation is inadequate or that defendant and counsel have become embroiled in an irreconcilable conflict that makes ineffective representation likely.
Ogren remains Dominguez’s attorney, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Foley, the case prosecutor, and the sentencing hearing for Dominguez and her co-defendant is still slated for Thursday.
Ogren could not be reached.
Dominguez pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in the death of 3-year-old Gilbert Dominguez, her nephew and foster son, in June 2008.
Her long-term boyfriend, 34-year-old Gabriel Peralta of Santa Maria, pleaded guilty to felony child abuse and admitted an allegation he caused great bodily injury to a child under 5.
Dominguez is facing a term of 15 years to life in prison, and Peralta is expected to get 12 years in prison.
The pair share three biological children.
The prosecution has presented evidence that Dominguez, after becoming angry with Gilbert, drowned him with bathtub water on June 11, 2008.
Santa Maria police Officer Andy Magallon testified at a prior hearing that Peralta admitted he had “crossed the line” before while disciplining Gilbert, and that he did not call 9-1-1 when Dominguez told him over the phone that Gilbert wasn't breathing.
Dominguez told police at the time that Gilbert wasn't breathing possibly because he choked on peanut butter.