By Ryan Oh
WOODLAND – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Paul Richardson released an unhoused man from custody, throwing out a felony robbery count at a preliminary hearing Friday after calling the ambitious charges by the district attorney’s office “a bit of a stretch.”
Darrel Wayne Fisher—in custody for about a month—found himself facing the potential charge of felony robbery for allegedly stealing items inside a female victim’s bag.
Officer Nolan McManus of the Woodland Police Department was the only witness called by Deputy District Attorney Jordan Greenberg,
According to the officer, the alleged victim reported that Fisher approached her on June 9, 2020, while she was parking her bike in the parking lot of Bob’s Liquor Store located on the 600 block of Cottonwood Street.
She told the officer that Fisher kicked her bike and rolled up his sleeves, which allegedly forced the victim to move away from her bike. The victim commented that she was afraid that the defendant would attack her.
However, Fisher allegedly started to pull out items—a Hello Kitty bag and two shirts—from the victim’s green bag, and threw them on the ground, an action which Fisher later admitted when he was arrested.
Taking the two shirts, the victim/witness said, the defendant moved from the parking lot to the front window of the store and started banging the window, which prompted one of the store employees to call the police and ended the incident.
Despite the concession of throwing the items, there was little evidence presented for a charge of robbery.
When the defendant’s counsel asked Officer McManus about whether there is clear evidence of Fisher threatening the victim, the officer said none.
In addition, the victim declined to press charges against Fisher, implying that she was fearful to be one of the witnesses for the case. But, Officer McManus later acknowledged that he was not sure why the victim did not press charges against the defendant.
The officer reported that the victim’s Hello Kitty bag was back in place, while the victim did not move far away from the site along with her two shirts in possession. Defendant’s counsel noted actions by Fisher did not qualify for a charge of robbery, since there was no indication of use of force to take property away from the victim and no clear intention of depriving the victim of her possessions.
Defense counsel emphasized, that while the defendant could have been under the influence, there exists insufficient evidence to qualify this case as a robbery.
Regardless of Fisher’s prior convictions, which included theft, battery, and vandalism since 2003, Judge Richardson found the defendant’s argument compelling and concluded that it was “a bit of stretch” to categorize Fisher as a felon under the charge of robbery.
Judge Richardson ordered the release of Fisher, who had been detained in the Yolo county custody since June 9, 2020.
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