By Danielle Eden C. Silva
In Department 14, Rodwin Yamsone Vibat appeared for a preliminary hearing on a misdemeanor charge and for a check with a GPS unit on his current probation activity.
Mr. Vibat had been working as a masseur in Yolo County at a variety of establishments. He had been convicted of sexual battery by fraudulent representation on one felony count, simple battery by fraudulent representation on two misdemeanor counts, and sexual battery on three misdemeanor counts.
Representing Mr. Vibat, Deputy Public Defender Emily Fisher noted that Judge Daniel P. Maguire had had Vibat placed on probation. Judge Maguire had been a substitute judge during the delivery of the verdict. Since the defendant had only been convicted of one felony, Mr. Vibat was fitted with a GPS unit. Mr. Vibat shared that the unit was attached to his left leg.
Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens noted that Mr. Vibat had another charge pending that they were also to meet on today. In September of 2017, after Mr. Vibat had first been arrested, he was found parked on the side of the road and asleep. Methamphetamine was discovered in his pocket and two guns were located in the trunk: a 12-gauge shotgun and a rifle with a scope. The protective order prevented him from being in possession of firearms and of being two miles or less away from several of the victims. When caught, the defendant had shared he had not fully understood the order and therefore could not have
followed it completely.
Attorney Couzens also listed another supposed failure to understand the orders. On the day of the verdict, Judge Maguire had clearly explained to Vibat the limits of where he was allowed to go.
Originally, Mr. Vibat could not leave Yolo County. When he explained that a relative’s funeral was approaching and there was a need to visit sick family member and other family members, the court expanded the limits to Solano County, Alameda County, and San Francisco County – under the condition that he was traveling to visit family.
Not soon after being fitted with the GPS unit, Mr. Vibat had been tracked driving 100 miles per hour through Placer County to Reno, visiting two casinos, going to an address in Reno, and driving back through Placer County. While Mr. Vibat claimed he went to pick up his grandmother for the funerals, other family members had been available in the area to provide her a ride.
Ms. Fisher shared that, even with the charge of possessing a firearm, Judge Maguire had allowed him to use the GPS.
A probation officer also stepped forward, describing Mr. Vibat’s behavior as somewhat entitled and dismissive during the installation of the unit. The probation officer shared he had not known what the restrictions were on Mr. Vibat’s movements and could not reiterate them to him.
Mr. Vibat was again described as being aware of the restrictions of travel, but it was noted that he was compliant when he received the GPS unit.
Judge David Rosenberg stated that it had been made clear to Mr. Vibat that he couldn’t leave the state and go outside the county, save for the three counties that had been listed. He acknowledged that Mr. Vibat had been having a tough time, but the court orders had been clarified to him several times.
Mr. Vibat was taken into custody for public safety concerns until the sentencing. Mr. Couzens noted the sentence would likely include jail time due to the verdict. A bail was posted.
The court acknowledged that probation hadn’t interviewed him yet, but would be able to do so while he was in custody. Attorney Couzens also shared that the September 2017 case is a pending charge. The possession of a firearm could be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony due to this being after his arrest, but the judge informed Ms. Fisher he would wait until she had time to speak with Mr. Vibat first.
Mr. Vibat’s sentencing is to occur on April 17, 2018, in Department 14 at 10 a.m.