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Alleged bank robber’s trial delayed as both sides continue discovery

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Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:21 am, Tue Jun 14, 2011.

The trial for an alleged San Joaquin County bank robber will not begin for several weeks as police reports and court documents continue to trickle in.

Phillip Dale Selfa, 58, will return to court June 27 for his trial, Stockton Superior Court Judge Franklin Stephenson said Monday. More time is needed for the prosecution and defense to sift through evidence and build their respective cases.

Selfa is charged with eight counts, including second-degree robbery and falsely reporting a bomb, stemming from four separate bank robberies in Lodi, Lockeford, Linden and Ripon between December 2010 and May 2011. He is also accused of having three previous federal convictions (1978, 1982 and 1989) for robbery. He was listed as a career criminal by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1990.

The most recent incident took place the morning of May 9 when Selfa allegedly entered the Bank of the West on Church Street in Lodi and gave a clerk a handwritten note demanding money. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, Selfa allegedly left behind a bag in the bank he had told employees was filled with explosives.

Selfa is also being charged with the robberies of an F&M Bank in Linden and two other Bank of the West robberies — one in Lockeford and one in Ripon.

Selfa was arrested in Stockton on May 18 by San Joaquin Sheriff’s deputies and SWAT officers after a search warrant was executed.

Through his attorney, Chrishna Martinez, Selfa has requested media and television crews be unable to photograph or film court proceedings. Images of Selfa handcuffed and wearing county jail-issued clothing portray him in a negative light and challenge his ability to receive an impartial trial in the county, Martinez wrote in court documents.

While Martinez does have a motion to ban cameras from Selfa’s proceedings, Stephenson said the media has the right to film and photograph the trial until a specific ruling on the motion is made.

However, media organizations are not allowed to take photographs or film video of Selfa and Martinez having a conference or side counsel in court. California laws prohibit media from publishing photographs of those off-the-record moments.

Selfa’s next court date is June 27 in Stockton Superior Court. His bail is currently set at $950,000, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department website.

Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

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