A week after longtime Deputy DA Cameron Bowman disappeared from the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office, his name has suddenly vanished from the weekly case roster, too.
A member of the DA’s major case team, Bowman was set to begin a murder trial next week, but it has been handed off to Deputy DA Peter Waite, who said Monday that he has been working on the case for the past two weeks.
Bowman was apparently escorted out of the county administration building about a week ago and hasn’t been seen since.
DA superiors haven’t been willing to say much beyond “no comment.” However, Bowman’s attorney, Kenneth Robinson, insists that his client has not been fired. The prominent San Jose criminal defense attorney further told us last week that Bowman hasn’t been disciplined for anything.
Asked why a different deputy had been put in charge of a murder case just days before it was set for trial, Assistant DA David Tomkins said he didn’t “see a problem.”
The case’s new prosecutor is just “going to deal,” said Tomkins, who oversees the major case team.
Tomkins again declined to comment Monday on the circumstances surrounding Bowman’s sudden departure.
Waite said the defense team for Johnny Viet Le, who is accused of murdering the man he thought was having an affair with his wife, has indicated that they will be asking for a continuance.
Le’s attorney, Sam Polverino, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, but it will be very interesting to see how he’ll deal with this 11th-hour switch.
While Waite said he would be prepared for trial next week, he said he would have no problem if the other side wants to hold off on opening statements.
Waite’s name wasn’t on last week’s case lineup, but this week he is not only taking the Le murder, but will be handling another homicide Bowman was gearing up to prosecute.
The last case Bowman was set to handle, a 1994 murder, has now been given to Deputy DA John Luft, who is with the career criminal unit.
— Julie O’Shea