Defendant Hope for Sympathetic Judge Doesn’t Work Out – Case Ongoing

By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau Chief

SACRAMENTO – Igzabihair Yamakosi no doubt had hoped a sympathetic judge would rule in Sacramento County Superior Court here Wednesday that his prior run-ins with the law could be forgotten, and he could move forward fighting what he and his family believe are unjust charges he currently faces.

Not to be.

Superior Court Judge Michael Savage – during a busy Wednesday Zoom live streaming calendar in Dept. 62 – refused to listen to arguments to dismiss the prior strikes and held Yamakosi until another hearing May 18 on charges that he was a felon in possession of a firearm when picked up in March.

Reportedly, Yamakosi helped film a rap video that evening, and then was a passenger in a car that was stopped by police for allegedly speeding. Police, as they can when someone is on parole or probation, searched the car, even though it was not being driven by Yamakosi. An unloaded handgun was found in the glovebox.

The driver of the car, a juvenile, was given one year probation, but Yamakosi is now facing a third strike, a felony. The District Attorney’s office has offered the defendant 32 months in prison.

Judge Savage, in past hearings during this COVID-19 Zoom video hearings, has made it clear he won’t release anyone or lower their bail if he believes they are a “threat to public safety.”

Yamakosi has had the two previous run-ins with law, the first when he was only 18 in San Francisco.

According to Yamakosi’s family, people he was with grabbed an IPhone out of a man’s hands, but were caught by police ultimately.

Yamakosi’s family maintained that the young man didn’t take the phone and was “instrumental” in getting the phone back. Despite that, the judge sentenced him to 43 days in jail.

But when he was just days from petitioning to have the strike removed from his record, Yamakosi again was picked up for something he says his acquaintances did – stealing a scooter and assault.

At the pretrial, said court witnesses, the two victims couldn’t identify him, but the mother of the boys, who was in a car, said he could have been involved. Again, he didn’t go to trial, and took a plea deal and was given his second strike.

Yamakosi, said his family, has been out since July of 2019, seeing specialists because his arm was broken severely while in prison. Since his release, he has received state disability and compensation. His doctors have said he is permanently disabled in the arm that was broken.

Family said they are frustrated that the young man, who had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as a youth, needs “services and not prison time.”

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