Famed Civil Rights Lawyer Set To Defend Suspect in Husband’s Murder
YOLO COUNTY – The Woodland woman charged with killing her husband after a heated argument August 3 in her condominium with a single gunshot wound is now scheduled for a June trial with a famous civil rights lawyer on her side.
Susan Hoskins, 59, whose arraignment had been delayed three times due to her request for the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office to provide her with counsel (she was ultimately determined not to be fiscally qualified for this legal aid as her income was too great), now has a world-renowned attorney on her defense team.
J. Tony Serra has agreed to serve as Hoskins’s lead counsel at her trial. Serra’s decades of high-powered litigation includes his representing Black Panther founder Huey Newton and members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, kidnappers of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. More recently, Serra defended 11 UC Davis students and a professor who staged a sit-in at the UC Davis Memorial Union branch of U.S. Bank, the so-called “Banker’s dozen.” Hoskins’s current lead counsel is Shannan Dugan, who has represented Hoskins since her Public Defender issues were ironed out shortly after her arrest.
Dugan told Yolo Superior Court Judge Samuel McAdam during a December 29 conference to schedule the trial, “I cannot try it alone, your honor; I would have to withdraw.” She then informed the judge that while Serra is currently traveling overseas, he would be prepared to try the Hoskins case by June. Dugan suggested the trial begin June 15.
Arrested on August 3 as the only suspect in murder of her husband Bryan Hoskins, Ms. Hoskins also faces charges of unlawful use of a firearm. Immediately after the shooting, Ms. Hoskins called 911 and when asked why she shot her husband replied, according to a Davis Enterprise report, “Because he’s an a_______ and he kept calling me a whore.” Bryan Hoskins, a retired Yolo County probation officer, died minutes later.
Carolyn Palumbo, prosecutor in the case, argued for a mid-May target date for the projected 3-week trial to begin. She invoked her right to “a speedy trial.” However, Judge McAdam demurred, saying that providing the defense with the extra time would preclude later grounds for appeal.
Susan Hoskins remains confined in Yolo County Jail without bail.