By Ariana Camarena
A 911 call regarding a suspicious person roaming the streets of West Sacramento led to an arrest after the officer found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia on the defendant.
The preliminary hearing held on November 14, 2019, began with the realization that the defendant, Walter Banner, qualified as a registered sex offender under CA Penal Code § 290. The matter would determine whether defendant Walter Banner would be found guilty of felony charges.
The first and only witness to be called by the People was West Sacramento Police Officer William Silvermaster. The officer testified that he was on duty at approximately 9:41 a.m. on October 26, 2019, when he was dispatched to arrive on the scene in regard to a suspicious person.
Upon arrival at the scene, the officer searched and located methamphetamine along with a pipe used for methamphetamine on the defendat. The officer testified that the net weight of the meth was 0.2 grams and was 3.1 grams in gross weight.
During cross-examination, the defense asked what Mr. Banner was doing upon arrival. The officer testified that the defendant had been walking and was not acting suspiciously. The officer testified
that the defendant was in fact cooperative. The officer testified that the defendant stated he was on parole.
After a brief redirect, the People rested their case.
The defense asked the court to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor. The defense argued that 0.2 grams of methamphetamine is a dosage for single use. The defense further argued that Mr. Banner’s past convictions had been misdemeanor charges and he was initially placed in mental health and addiction court. The defense stated that the court would, in fact, be “warehousing” Mr. Banner as he needs help and does not need incarceration.
The People agreed that the methamphetamine located on Mr. Banner was, in fact, a low dosage, however, the defendant had been given repeated chances during probation. The People argued that the defendant kept re-offending and has had two registerable sex offenses within ten years along with a strike of a violent offense. The People argued that the defendant also had a myriad of drug arrests dating back to 2006 and the charge should remain a felony based on criminal history and drug offenses.
Based on Mr. Banner’s file and recent probation report the court did not reduce the offense to a misdemeanor charge.
Arraignment is scheduled for November 27, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.