By Alexandra Cline
WOODLAND, Ca. – An in-custody defendant appeared Friday in Yolo County Superior Court, and was charged for throwing a rock at someone on his street—but the defendant argued he was defending himself after the alleged victim “kicked him in the nuts.”
The arraignment for defendant Thomas was held via Zoom on the Yolo County Superior Court’s YouTube channel.
Yolo County Public Defender Teal Dixon requested that defendant Thomas be released on his own recognizance before his trial. She argued that, although he has failed to appear in court before, he could lose his current housing if he is not released, and he agreed to be compliant with any court orders upon release.
Thomas, 52 years old, is currently living in a low-income housing dorm, and is an active member of the “Steps to Success” program. He was homeless for 12-15 years, and has been living in his own place for one year. His rap sheet dates back to 2006-2007, and this is his first felony offense.
The defendant has also been arrested for biking while intoxicated, and has a few “failures to appear” in court charges. PD Dixon argued that it is obvious he has an alcohol problem, and the fact that he has had minimal arrests while living on the streets is not something to ignore.
Assistant District Attorney Robin Johnson argued that his release would pose a “public safety risk”—which is a way for authorities to get around the Justice Council’s emergency order mandating the release on zero bail for low level offenders.
The prosecutor noted that, on the day of his arrest, Thomas allegedly became angry with the victim, walked away, and then came back to find him before throwing the rock the size of a baseball.
The victim was sitting on the ground and was allegedly hit several times on the arm and shoulder. The ADA stated that the victim had to put up a defense, and that there were witnesses present, including the arresting officer and a passerby.
Judge Peter Williams agreed that defendant Thomas was exempt from the Judicial Emergency Zero Bail Order, and that the court must follow the Yolo County Emergency Order, which allowed him to lower bail to $5,000. Thomas claimed that he had the money on his bank card.
The defense mentioned that Thomas did not want to appear for his court dates via Zoom, and wanted an in-person preliminary hearing. He said he also wants the earliest date possible, in order to prevent losing his housing, as well as to address his health conditions.
Public Defender Nixon reminded the court that Thomas would not be on the streets if he is released, and that, after he was stabilized, he regularly appeared at court dates.
The prosecution also mentioned a protective order that required the defendant to follow a “no harassment” order toward the victim.
A pre-hearing conference is set for May 19, at 9 a.m., and the preliminary hearing is set for May 22, both in Department 7 at Yolo County Superior Court.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9