Advertise Here - $25.00/day
Thursday , 17 April 2014
Breaking News
Home » Breaking News » Eye on the Courts: Arrest Story Leads Us to Ask Why is this News?
  NorCal Homes Team  Serving All of Your Davis  - El Macero - Woodland Real Estate Needs

Eye on the Courts: Arrest Story Leads Us to Ask Why is this News?

methOn Saturday morning I was perusing the local news when I saw a story in the Sacramento Bee whose headline was, “Woman accused of drug offenses after bicycle stop in West Sacramento.”  My first thought was, “Ah, let me guess, a person of color was arrested.”

Sure enough, reading the story it was a 24-year-old woman with a Hispanic name.

But that’s not all we have that is curious here.  The woman was stopped for an unspecified bicycle violation and arrested after she was allegedly found to be in possession of meth.

The story reads, “A Yolo County Sheriff’s deputy stopped the bicyclist on southbound Sixth Street about 8:43 p.m. Thursday. The woman told the deputy that she was on probation in Yolo County for receiving stolen property, and a subsequent search revealed that she had 0.14 grams of methamphetamine, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.”

Unlike the Bee, we do not think the 24-year-old West Sacramento resident needs to have her name re-printed.  According to the story, she “was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of controlled-substance paraphernalia and a probation violation. She was booked into Yolo County Jail with bail set at $90,000.”

This leads us to a number of questions that frankly far outweigh the importance of this story.

First of all, for some reason the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department actually sent out a press release about a Latina woman who had .14 grams of meth.  Think about that – they don’t send out press releases on every arrest – so why this one?

There is nothing in the story that appears unusual or interesting, which is, ironically, what caught my attention here.

But more than this, this Sacramento Bee chose to print this story.  I get a lot of press releases, and unless they are highly interesting, we do not print them or comment on them.  There has to be some discretion here.

They listed the lady’s name in their story, so they are putting her name in the public record for a most minor drug violation.

But the story actually gets a lot worse from here.  She was on probation for receiving stolen property, so she will be facing a violation of probation (VOP) to begin with.  But her possession of .14 grams of meth is actually a felony.

The other point here is that her bail was set at $90,000.  The bail schedule for possession of meth is normally about $10,000 and, even with the VOP, the schedule should increase only by that much.

Think about this: most likely, she is not going to be able to make bail.  What that means is that she will be held in custody at least until she can appear in front of a judge and have an attorney appeal for a reduced bail sentence.

Now, in a county that has complained that they do not have a lot of space in their jail and complained that AB 209 has caused them to have to release dangerous criminals into the population or, at the very least, expand the jail cell, this type of pre-trial custody situation cannot be helping the problem.

Think about this … while this woman is sitting in custody for possessing .14 grams of meth, Clayton Garzon, who committed an assault with a deadly weapon, was out on bail when he attacked Mikey Partida last spring, and Mr. Garzon, even after that brutal attack, was free on bail.

At the same time, this woman will be sitting in custody.

As it turns out, perhaps the sheriff’s department and the Sacramento Bee were right to have publicized this case.  They severely buried the lead, but this case, ironically enough, shows us everything that is wrong with our criminal justice system.

While Yolo County’s DA continues to perpetuate this system that he has acknowledged is broken, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and San Diego Police Chief William Landsdowne filed an initiative with state officials Thursday that would defelonize most drug possession and non-violent offenses.

“The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” would “ensure that prison spending is focused on violent and serious offenses, maximize alternatives for non-serious, nonviolent crime, and invest the savings generated from this Act into prevention and support programs in K-12 schools, victim services, and mental health and drug treatment.”

It would “require misdemeanors instead of felonies for non-serious, nonviolent crimes like petty theft and drug possession, unless the defendant has prior convictions for specified violent or serious crimes.”

Moreover, it would also authorize re-sentencing for anyone sentenced as a felon for acts which would become misdemeanors.

“I really think the timing is right – it’s a great opportunity to reform a part of our criminal justice system that’s been broken for so long,” District Attorney George Gascón told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We are looking basically at creating a scenario where we can prioritize violent crimes, we can keep dangerous criminals locked up, but move away from locking up people who basically just need medical help.”

As we wait for the day when these kind of common sense solutions can become the law of the land, we must extend our gratitude to the sheriff’s department for keeping us safe from people possessing minute quantities of meth and for the Sacramento Bee’s efforts to investigate the racket that is drug enforcement.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Print Friendly
  NorCal Homes Team  Serving All of Your Davis  - El Macero - Woodland Real Estate Needs

About David Greenwald

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

30 comments

  1. David
    ““Woman accused of drug offenses after bicycle stop in West Sacramento.” My first thought was, ‘ah let me guess, a person of color was arrested.”

    Knowing you through your blogs I would’ve been surprised if you thought anything else. My lily white daughter has been stopped in Davis and received a ticket while biking, difference is she would never be carrying drugs or be on probation.

  2. this is fallacious reasoning – you’re arguing that the exception disproves the rule. the overwhelming majority of people stopped in yolo county are people of color. disproportionate to their numbers by orders of magnitude. the overwhelming majority of people arrested in yolo county on drug charges are minorities. and yet we know from drug studies that the proportion of whites and minorities who use drugs – particularly young people is roughly even.

    are you going to argue that many white DHS students use drugs? of course not. are you going to argue that many white UCD students use drugs? of course not.

    and yet, you and i know that the vast proportion of those arrested for simple drug possession are people of color.

  3. “…this case ironically enough shows us everything that is wrong with our criminal justice system.”
    Everything?
    Despite the Vanguard’s predictable hyperbole, the hard to find point that this is a travesty of justice because someone with a medical problem is incarcerated while a homicidal sociopath is walking the street has much merit.
    “Now in a county that has complained that they do not have a lot of space in their jail …this type of pre-trial custody situation cannot be helping the problem.”
    Interesting, because it suggests another reason to “hold ” this individual. Could she be a person of interest or a reluctant witness in a much darker matter? But, David, rather than do a real investigative report on the event, uses his bully pulpit to promote a pet bill, philosophically aligned with his own views of criminal justice.
    I think there is a great story to be had from the alleged defendant and sources inside the Sheriff’s and DA’s staffs. Maybe some news reporter will go get it.
    Biddlin ;>)/

  4. Very troubling incarceration. Looking forward to hearing whatever else you find out.

  5. As to why this arrest warranted a press release, that’s a fair question since drug-related arrests and probation violations are routine enforcement actions particularly in West Sacramento. A phone call to the Sheriff Department’s Public Information Officer would generate some kind of response to the basic question. Should this question be pursued further, ask the Sheriff’s Department is enforcing bicycle violations in another jurisdiction. That’s a far more intriguing story than the questionable sub-plot of this particular story.

    “First thought” “. . . person of color was arrested” The suspect had an Hispanic surname. The clear inference is that this arrest was racially motivated. The racial bias was enhanced in an unnecessary press release that included the Hispanic surname of the arrestee. A neighboring newspaper published this unremarkable story, expanding the racially bias intimation to Editor of the Sacramento Bee. The Bee included the adult suspect’s name.

    References to law enforcement actions in this venue are almost invariably presented in a negative light. We won’t dwell on the indisputable fact that West Sacramento has a large Hispanic population. I travel frequently through West Sacramento, exclusively on a bicycle. Rarely, is a white cyclist observed and only then during morning and afternoon commutes. There are numerous cyclists, but virtually all are persons of color, especially at night. From a statistical view alone, the probability of bike traffic enforcement in West Sacramento is weighted heavily towards persons of color. But, again, that’s a law enforcement perspective that does not receive a particularly supportive audience here.

    Instead, we’ll pursue the veracity of this accusation from the perspective of two journalists. First, the Bee Editor. The Bee did include the Hispanic surname in contrast to this column. Historically, the Bee and most other news sources identify arrest suspects by name, except for juveniles. It’s not quite clear if this writing is a call for omission of ethnic identifying surnames from police reports that may have an inherent racial bias. An intriguing topic, perhaps for another time.

    Finally, let’s examine the thought process of the accuser. “First thought . . . a person of color was arrested.” Then follows the discovery that the arrested woman had a Hispanic surname. Bingo!

    Profiling and pre-conceived biases cannot be assigned solely and exclusively to law enforcement. Bias is a personality flaw found in everybody. A remarkably candid example was shown in this column’s initial paragraph.

    In the spirit of critical examination of all aspects of this story, let’s hypothesize the distinct possibility the arrested woman was a Caucasian, and who married a Hispanic and took his surname. The tenor of the accusation is completely altered. No mention was made of this possibility having even considered as a prelude. Nor was there any indication that due diligence on this critical point was taken before publication of this column.

    • You’re being all too logical Phil. You’re level headed thinking is taking away all of the knee jerk negative assertions being put forward by the usual liberal crowd.

    • I have an email into the PIO at the Sheriff’s Department. I’ll follow up with Sheriff Prieto. My guess is this was a YONET arrest, possibly a Gang Task Force arrest.

    • ” From a statistical view alone, the probability of bike traffic enforcement in West Sacramento is weighted heavily towards persons of color”

      yes – if you’re in west capitol you’re correct, if you’re in south port, you’re probably not correct. there’s a lot of work underway that aim to re-think police practices that are discriminatory in impact even if they are not disproportionate in their intent.

  6. Even if she was Hispanic that doesn’t prove that’s the reason the officer first stopped her.

  7. no where does david state that she was arrested because she was minority, he simply points out that he believed the arrestee would be minority and she was…

  8. “My lily white daughter has been stopped in Davis and received a ticket while biking, difference is she would never be carrying drugs or be on probation.”

    I hope for both you or her sake she would never be carrying drugs but the sickness of drug abuse can strike anyone and do terrible damage to any family of any race or class.

  9. As usual Toad, you miss the point.

    • Yes because your biases as revealed through your rhetoric raise more important issues than your point.

      • Toad, the point was my daughter just received a ticket, she wasn’t hauled off to jail because she had drugs in her possesion and on probation like this woman with, as David puts it, the Hispanic name. Toad, can you now tell the difference?

  10. It seems that both Biddlin and Phil Coleman strike right at your obvious personal biases, perhaps because this story is so poorly researched, or maybe you are tired or distracted. Anyway, you need to up your game. You can do better than this.

    I remember one time I broke up a fight at school. I was with a bunch of teachers after work and retold the story. I purposely left the race of the students involved out of the story. The other teachers raised the issue and each guessed at the race of the students, all guessed wrong. All people of every race are capable of doing bad things. Just because someone has a latino name means nothing. I know a latino guy named Johnson, a white guy named Puntillo and a Flemmish guy named Koen.

  11. Spoke to Mark Persons at the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department. He assured me that there was nothing more to the story than what was in the press release, he acknowledged it was a small amount of meth but said they like to print stories on drug arrests to alert the public.

    He is researching why the bail is set so high and will get back to me.

  12. Mark Persons got back to me and clarified that the bail amount was incorrect, it is $70,000 not $90,000. $20,000 for the new violations and $50,000 for the VOP.

  13. “Think about this … while this woman is sitting in custody for possessing .14 grams of meth, Clayton Garzon, who committed an assault with a deadly weapon, was out on bail when he attacked Mikey Partida last spring, and Mr. Garzon, even after that brutal attack, was free on bail.”

    Actually both these people are in custody one for a probation violation the other for a violation of his bail terms.

  14. Just because she has a latino name does not mean she is Latina…..

    I wonder how much meth she had before she ingested it…..

  15. Yes I agree… They arrested her probably because they knew she previously had drug convictions sorry your not racist your a lazy prejudice person who needs to do his job instead of following around chicks you know most likely have drugs on them! The cop probably had written the arresting report ahead of time and wanted to skip the hours of case report writing. It is profiling but who the hell would take the word of a civilian over a person with 16 weeks training we should be arguing over that! Politics suck! :/ any person who believes racism doesnt exist please contact me asap I have a bridge you may be interested in buying.

Leave a Reply

Smackwagon Design - Building Relationships... "One Project at a TIME!"
%d bloggers like this: