Cox case remains in limbo after local hearing
| January 14, 2021
By GREG LITTLE Editor
Unprovable rape allegations. More than 100 code violations. Years of hearings. The high-profile murder of a lawyer.
It sounds like something right out of the pages of a mystery novel.
But it is not.
All of those things, and many more, are part of the ongoing Jerry Cox case in Mariposa County — a matter which has been in court for years and may be for a while longer.
The case against Cox in Mariposa County Superior Court actually has been resolved, sort of. Cox was found in violation of 101 building codes as a result of what the county says was years of investigation. County officials said they tried for almost 10 years to get Cox, owner of JDC Land Co. and the Bison Creek Ranch, to come into compliance with the violations.
But, officials said, Cox would not and that’s when they took the matter to court.
Prior to that, however, Cox was arrested for 14 felony violations as a result of statements made by a woman he met on farmersonly.com, a dating website. Those charges were handed down by former Mariposa County District Attorney Thomas Cooke. Cooke, though, never was able to bring those charges to a trial and made the unusual move of dropping all 14, saying he could not prove his case in court.
The other matter, though, continued forward and Mariposa County Superior Court Judge Dana Walton found Cox in violation of the building codes. Walton appointed a receiver to the case in the form of Mark Adams, president of California Receivership Group of Santa Monica.
That was more than three yeas ago and the case remains active in the local court, with a hearing held this past Monday.
The hearing was a “status update,” which is common at the court. In this case, the court is attempting to get a discharge hearing completed. A discharge hearing is held after the court has ruled the property was brought up to code. In this case, the focus of the hearing is how to distribute the money from the sale of the property.
Walton last year ordered the property sold, which it was, for around $750,000. At that time, Cox’s attorney, Marc Angelucci, had argued that price was about half of what it should have sold for, but it was to no avail and the sale went through.
And then the unthinkable happened.
On July 11, 2020, Angelucci was murdered at his home in Cedarpark Pines, which is in San Bernardino County near Crestline. The suspect in the case was the same man who murdered the son of a New Jersey judge just two days later. That suspect took his own life after killing the judge’s son.
Angelucci, who was a vice president of the National Coalition for Men, originally took on the Cox case because of the 14 rape allegations. However, he continued working with Cox on the receivership case until the time he was gunned down at his home, all the while citing corruption in Mariposa County as one of his reasons for continuing with the case.
Now, it appears the investigation into Angelucci’s murder remains ongoing — which was the crux of Monday’s hearing in Mariposa. It remains unclear why the murder investigation is continuing.
During a hearing two months ago, Walton told Cox he had to have counsel in order to proceed. He said receivership cases in California require counsel.
This time, Omair Farooqui, an attorney with the Palo Alto Legal Group, said he was representing Cox “specifically for this hearing.”
“I ask for a continuance of this case,” said Farooqui.
Farooqui said because the murder case investigation is ongoing by the San Bernardino County Sheriff ’s Office, nobody can gain access to the Cox files which were in the possession of Angelucci at the time of his murder. Those files were seized by the sheriff’s office.
Farooqui said the files “have not been released. He can’t proceed without access to his files.”
Andrew Adams, the son of Mark Adams who has been representing the receivership group for months in the Cox case, said in October, Cox told the court the investigation would end in 90 days or that a special master would be appointed to the case.
Andrew Adams said he has “not seen anything” which indicates Cox has attempted to get the files.
Farooqui said it was his “understanding” that a special master was appointed in the Angelucci murder case and that is was further “my understanding they will not release the files until the case is closed.”
He then spoke of a Jan. 5 email from Detective Simon DeMuri of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office which was sent to Cox and titled “status of special master.”
Here is the complete text of that email which was obtained by the Gazette:
“A Special Master was appointed at the start of this investigation and was not utilized/needed. What I explained to both you and your attorney (whose name escapes me at the moment) a few months ago was that none of the documents will be released until the investigation is complete, reviewed by the district attorney and seen in court.
“After the case is done with the court process (DA review and proceedings if any) then, and only then can we release any of our evidence. We will only release the evidence with a court order after the case is adjudicated. A special master will likely not be included in the process.
“I know you have your own court proceedings in motion and documentation for those proceedings are currently held by us. My recommendation to you is to work on getting the documents as you did the first time you got them. Our process can sometimes take years to complete through the courts. We must maintain our evidence as this is an open and on-going murder investigation.
“Please don’t hesitate to email me back if you have any other questions, I will get back to you as quickly as I can and answer any questions the best I can.”
The signature line was from DeMuri, who works the “homicide detail” of “specialized investigations” for the sheriff’s office.
Farooqui also told Walton the Los Angeles region is in the middle of a “massive Covid outbreak,” which he said complicates matters more.
Andrew Adams then asked the court to set a date for a “motion for interim fees,” using the number of $215,000 though he did not specify what those fees represented in the case.
“This court will not grant any motion for any fees until there is a discharge,” said Walton.
Walton then asked Farooqui if he could provide a declaration from the special master or the sheriff’s office within 10 days.
Farooqui said all he had at the present time was the email which was sent from the detective to Cox.
“I am not sure if they can get that within 10 days given the pandemic,” said Farooqui.
Walton at first was going to set another hearing for this week but Farooqui asked for more time.
“It’s been years,” said Walton of the Cox case.
“It’s essentially a murder that happened,” said Farooqui. “I can’t imagine any attorney getting on board without the files. This matter should be continued until the files are released.”
Walton then scolded Cox, who was present in the courtroom, for not obtaining an attorney since Angelucci’s death in July.
“Mr. Cox has not been taking the action he has been directed to do,” said Walton.
Walton even said if there would have been “some type of declaration” before Mondays’ hearing, the circumstances might be different.
“All we have been receiving (from Cox) is to not go forward” without evidence that Cox is attempting to get counsel, said Walton.
But Farooqui said Cox “has been working to get his files. They are not going to release his files no matter what he does. To put his feet to the fire for something he has not done is not fair.”
Walton said the fact Farooqui was only representing Cox in this case “tells this court Mr. Cox is not prepared to go forward.”
He cited Cox’s “failure to obtain counsel and have representation here.”
“I can’t make a general appearance without knowing the files,” said Farooqui .
Walton questioned if anyone had approached San Bernardino officials about at least getting copies of the documents released.
“Nobody has done that,” said Walton.
Farooqui pointed right back to the correspondence from the detective, which stated officials will only “release the evidence after a court order after the case is adjudicated. It is impossible for anyone to take the case.”
Walton also said the local court has all of the case files, however, that would not include anything Angelucci might have had related to the case which had not been introduced into court, including possible depositions.
In the end, Walton set another hearing for 2:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 25. He asked Farooqui to supply a declaration to the court by Jan. 20 so it can be reviewed by all parties.
Earlier in the hearing, Farooqui said he could provide a personal declaration with the correspondence from the detective, but was unsure if he could get anything more from the sheriff’s office in San Bernardino given the situation with the pandemic.
During Monday’s hearing, Cox did ask to address the court on two occasions but he was not allowed to by Walton.