Nanette Packard, a Ladera Ranch resident arrested last month for the murder of Bill McLaughlin, a Newport Beach millionaire had her arraignment continued for the third time. Packard, had made two previous court appearances without entering a plea.
The likely reason for the delay is twofold. First, her co-defendant Eric Naposki only arrived in Orange County within the last two weeks and the prosecutor and defense attorneys want to align their court dates. Naposki is set to be arraigned on June 11, 2009 in Harbor Justice Center, the same date Packard's arraignment was set. Second, Packard's attorney filed a demurrer, which needs to be heard prior to her entering a plea of not guilty.
A demurrer, is a motion brought by defense attorneys to challenge defects on the charging document in an attempt to get the case dismissed. There are several grounds for which a criminal defendant can file a demurrer including lack of jurisdiction, uncertainty, misjoinder, no offense stated and prosecution barred.
My guess is that the defense is going to try and argue that after the murder, Ms. Packard was arrested for theft related charges, crimes which became known to law enforcement during the course of the murder investigation. That during the course of the investigation Ms. Packard was a suspect in the murder. That, at the time she was charged, the evidence of the murder was known or should have been known to law enforcement. That by charging her with theft charges only and not the murder charge, double jeopardy has attached and she cannot now be brought up for the murder charges.