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The State

A Stockton Superior Court judge who fell asleep during a key part of a murder trial said he will give the defendant a new trial. Judge James Darrah admitted that he dozed for 13 minutes during the testimony of a witness, who said he was with defendant Tab Lee Bennett, 28, of Galt when William Lang, 25, of Lodi was shot to death in 1986. Bennett had waived his right to jury trial and was found guilty by Darrah. Defense attorney Patrick Piggott challenged the verdict, claiming that the judge slept through the presentation of crucial evidence. Piggott said he was referring to a murder scene diagram, when he noticed the judge was snoozing. “It’s very impressive that he would do that,” Piggott said after Darrah set April 10 for a hearing to set a new trial date.


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