Dead GPS Monitor Battery Results in Parole Violation Charge


By Nancy Martinez

WOODLAND – A violation of parole hearing was presided over by Judge David W. Reed for Michael Villescaz on Feb. 14, 2020, in Department 7.

Mr. Villescaz is being charged with violating his parole on the morning of Jan. 11, 2020, three days after being released from the county jail. A parole agent testified at the hearing regarding his experience supervising Mr. Villescaz since 2018. The deputy public defender began his argument that the condition to wear a GPS monitor is not reasonable—and plans to further this argument.

Mr. Villescaz’s assigned parole officer, Troy Libonati, testified in court that Villescaz has been one of his assigned parolees since Sept. 2018. Agent Libonati has since supervised the GPS monitor that Mr. Villescaz has been required to wear. On multiple occasions since 2018, Mr. Villescaz has violated the GPS monitor terms and Agent Libonati has repeated the instructions on how to use and charge the monitor.

Agent Libonati testified that on Jan. 8, 2020, when Mr. Villescaz was released from the county jail, he provided Mr. Villescaz with a new monitor and charging system, and he instructed him on how to charge the device. The recommended charging maintenance that Agent Libonati has advised Mr. Villescaz on is that he should charge the device every day for 2 hours to ensure the battery does not die.

Three days later on January 11 around 2 am, Agent Libonati received a phone call from the agency that records the GPS monitor information, informing him that the monitor had turned off due to a dead battery. Agent Libonati informed officers of Mr. Villescaz’s last known location and officers were able to locate and pick him up.

Agent Libonati informed the court that, from Mr. Villescaz’s GPS monitor records, there was no attempted charging activity between the time when Mr. Villescaz was given the new monitor on January 8 and when the monitored turned off on January 11.

The agent continued to testify that the monitor will vibrate and inform the person wearing it that the battery is low and must be charged. The notice of low battery occurred on January 10 at 4:43 pm. Agent Libonati indicated that parolees can charge their device at his office every business day from 8 am to 5 pm.

The deputy district attorney argued that the parole agent has taught Mr. Villescaz how to charge his monitor on multiple times and has informed him on locations where he can charge the device when Mr. Villescaz has no registered residence. The DA argued that there is no excuse for his allowing the monitor to die, which resulted in a parole violation.

The defense rebutted by arguing that the notice of low battery occurred 15 minutes before the agent’s office closed and that it would have been impossible for Mr. Villescaz to arrive at the office in time to charge the device.

The deputy public defender continued to argue that wearing a GPS monitor is not a reasonable condition in Mr. Villescaz’s case, and will further deliver his arguments on Feb. 28, 2020.

Further arguments and the ruling will occur on Feb. 28 at 1:30 pm in Department 7.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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