COVID-19 or No COVID-19, Fresno Judge Wants Defendant’s Community Service Done – Or It’s Jail


By Jeannette Parada

FRESNO – Despite the shelter in place, and the lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic in California that began in mid-March, Superior Court Judge Ana de Alba refused to accept Todd Allen Metcalf ‘s extension to begin his community service, which he said he couldn’t do because of closures.

The defendant was not present in Fresno County Superior Court last week for a probation hearing review. Metcalf’s Defense Counsel Justin Benada was present via Zoom, and asked the judge for an extension so Metcalf could begin his community service.

Judge de Alba denied the extension.

The defendant’s attorney argued that Metcalf has been unable to begin his community service due to the shelter in place, and everything being closed due to the pandemic.

But the court said Metcalf was supposed to have had some hours completed or assigned to his community service already. Benada explained Metcalf has been unable to sign up for a community service program because of COVID-19.

The judge disagreed.

Mr. Benada believed the extension should be granted now that everything is beginning to re-open. However, Judge de Alma declined Benada’s request because the court believes Metcalf had enough time to begin his community service before the shelter in place.

De Alma believes Metcalf had plenty of time before March, so COVID-19 is not an excuse for Metcalf, who could have begun his community service in February. She again denied Benada’s extension request and ordered Metcalf to complete half of his community service hours of 20 hours by the next court date, which will be July 29, 2020, at 1:30 pm.

If the defendant hasn’t completed half his community hours by July 29, he will be remanded to jail.

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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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