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Local News

Judge Orders Release of Drug Treatment Records for Man Charged in Fatal Hit-and-Run

Raymond Morua, who has yet to enter a plea in the case, is accused in the December death of pedestrian Mallory Rae Dies

A judge on Thursday ordered that drug-treatment records for a man charged with murder and hit-and-run in the December death of Mallory Rae Dies be turned over to Santa Barbara County prosecutors.

Raymond Morua was present in an adjacent holding area when Judge Thomas Adams announced that he was releasing all of the documents requested by Senior Deputy District Attorney Arnie Tolks.

Morua, a former aide to Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, is being held without bail at the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges that he was driving while intoxicated and struck Dies, 27, as she was crossing the 500 block of Anacapa Street on Dec. 6, 2013.

He is charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, and faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted.

Morua, 32, has two previous DUI cases in Ventura County Superior Court, and his court-ordered drug-treatment program was conducted by the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department.

Morua's attorney, Darryl Genis, has asserted that those records fall under HIPAA, a federal law governing patient confidentiality of medical records.

But Adams previously noted that facts in the documents could be relevant to implied malice, which would be central to the murder charge, as well as gross negligence.

Unlike Santa Barbara County's court-mandated drug and alcohol treatment, Ventura's program is administered by a medical facility, which could mean additional hurdles to clear before a subpoena can be issued.

Genis has termed the move to obtain the records a "fishing expedition," and briefly reiterated his objection to their release on Thursday.

Adams reviewed the records in private before ordering that they be released.

Morua will return to court March 28 for arraignment, which has been postponed several times.

He has yet to enter a plea to the charges, and Genis said after Thursday's hearing that he did not know if that would occur at the March hearing.

Dies suffered major head and other injuries, and was taken off life support Dec. 11, five days after being injured

Police stated that Morua's blood-alcohol level — 0.17 percent — was more than twice the legal limit at which a driver is considered drunk.

As he has been at previous hearings, Dies' father, Matt Dies, was in court on Thursday, along with several of his daughter's friends all wearing blue shirts with the "Vow 4 Mal" insignia, the nonprofit the group has started to educated people about the dangers of drunken driving.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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