Lawyers for pro-life investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are heading to the appeals court after a San Francisco judge dropped only one criminal charge against Daleiden and two against Merritt in an online “motion to dismiss” hearing Tuesday.

The Center for Medical Progress undercover journalists are still charged with eight felony counts of breaking California’s anti-eavesdropping law in connection with their groundbreaking sting operation that exposed Planned Parenthood harvesting and trafficking in aborted baby body parts.

Daleiden and Merritt could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Defense lawyers asked San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos to drop all 10 charges against Daleiden and Merritt in a motion filed under the California Penal Code 995 provision that allows a new judge to review the findings of a preliminary hearing.

Following a September preliminary hearing, Judge Christopher Hite ruled in December that Daleiden and Merritt must stand trial on nine of an original 15 felony counts, including eight counts of illegal taping and one of conspiring to do so.

California Democrat Attorney General Xavier Becerra then added the charge of manufacturing, transporting, or furnishing “a deceptive identification document.”

Bolanos dropped one charge against Daleiden and Merritt as “duplicative,” and ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge Merritt with illegal use of a false ID.

However, Daleiden still faces the false ID charge, and his lawyers from the Thomas More Society will be back in court in early August to argue a motion to “defer” it.

Both Thomas More Society and Liberty Counsel, which is defending Merritt, will now appeal the ruling, and both legal teams point to the political nature of the prosecution against their clients, which was initiated by Becerra’s predecessor, now-Senator Kamala Harris….

Thomas More Society president Thomas Brejcha described Bolanos’ handling of the lengthy hearing as a “brush off” of Daleiden’s affirmative defenses.

“David had a reasonable belief that he could find evidence of a felony crime of violence against human beings, namely, infanticide, that is, the killing of babies born alive with beating hearts,” stated Brejcha in a press release.

“These children – whom fetal tissue traffickers refer to as ‘intact fetuses’ – are the source from whom ‘fresh’ organs were harvested and ‘donated.’ These ‘donations’ were acquired at premium prices in dollar amounts bearing no ascertainable relationship to actual costs incurred in their ‘production.’”

Hite’s ruling made little mention of testimony presented during the hearing that backed up the affirmative defense, noted Brejcha.

This included Dr. Theresa Deisher’s testimony that fetal hearts used in research must be harvested from living babies, something she told Daleiden when he asked her about a 2012 Stanford study that used “human fetal hearts” supplied by Stem Express.

“An ABC 20/20 news program, hosted by ‘gold standard’ journalist Chris Wallace, was shown before the judge in open court. The contents quite clearly had an impact on Judge Hite,” said Brejcha.

“His terse dismissal of the defense in his final written ruling betrayed what struck us, as defense counsel, as his difficulty in dealing with this evidence. In the Section 995 hearing, Judge Bolanos likewise seemed anxious to avoid dealing with the evidence, simply inferring that Judge Hite must have not believed it….”

The above comes from a July 30 story on LifeSiteNews.