HAYWARD, California – On Tuesday, October 25, 2011, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gary Picetti denied Giselle Esteban’s request for a new attorney (Marsden motion) to replace her court-appointed attorney, Andrea Auer, who has been representing her on murder charges.
The Marsden motion gets its name from the case of People v. Marsden (1970). It is a request to the court by a criminal defendant to discharge his or her lawyer on the basis of being incompetently or inadequately represented by counsel.
Andrea Leslie Auer’s Background
Giselle Esteban’s court-appointed attorney Andrea Leslie Auer is a California licensed lawyer with offices in Oakland, California. She graduated from UC Hastings College of Law and has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. She was admitted to The State Bar of California on December 11, 1989.
Esteban and Auer returned to court for a closed hearing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 25, to review Esteban’s request for a new attorney. Only the defendant, Auer, and Judge Picetti were in attendance for the hearing. Judge Picetti announced at the end of the closed-door hearing Tuesday that he was denying Esteban’s motion.
Esteban is accused of murdering Michelle Le, a 26-year-old San Mateo nursing student and former friend. Le disappeared from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward, California, in May. Her body was found almost four months later in a remote canyon in the Pleasanton-Sunol area by Carrie McGonigle’s dog Amber.
Dog named Amber finds Le remains
Carrie McGonigle, mother of raped and murdered Escondido teenager Amber Dubois, described assisting in the search for Le and finding the remains of another family’s missing daughter and the hidden strength she never knew she had. She was about 300 yards from another set of searchers when her dog, Amber (named in memory of McGonigle’s daughter), a year-old yellow Labrador retriever, took off running, stopped and then came back. She jumped up on McGonigle’s chest, turned around and darted off in the same direction. Amber stopped alongside a dirt trail in the rugged hills near an Alameda County Park. As McGonigle approached her, she noticed what could possibly have been some sort of remains. After praising Amber, she returned to the search group to alert the officer on the scene.
McGonigle knows first-hand the agony of not knowing, after going 13 months without knowing if her daughter, Amber, was alive or not, and is glad the Le family has “some kind of closure.” McGonigle’s 14-year-old daughter disappeared while walking to school. Amber’s killer, John Gardner, a convicted double murderer and sex offender, is serving a life sentence in prison. More than a year after Amber “went missing,” Gardner admitted to her rape and murder and led authorities to her remains. He also admitted to killing 17-year-old Chelsea King of Poway, and is now serving a life sentence without a chance of parole.
At the time of the Esteban’s arrest, police announced that evidence pointed to Esteban as the sole person responsible for Le’s murder. Esteban, who is in her third trimester of pregnancy, is being held in Santa Rita jail without bail.
Auer had planned to seek bail for Esteban at a hearing on Monday, October 24, but that motion was delayed due to Esteban’s motion to fire Auer. Auer may seek bail for Esteban at a later date, but a final decision has not been made. Esteban is scheduled to return to court to enter a plea on December 2, with Auer remaining as her attorney.