Confusion Over Man in Custody – Misdemeanor or Violation of Probation?

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By Layla Mustafa

WOODLAND – Earlier this week, in Yolo County Superior Court, a review of the felony charge and allegation of violation of probation began in the case of Moses Santos—but as soon as it began it came to a quick halt as confusion clouded the case and courtroom.

Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira claimed Santos is in custody because PRCS (Post-Release Community Supervision) filed an addendum claiming that the defendant violated his probation by removing his GPS tracker.

However, when Santos was originally released on his own recognizance June 23, a GPS tracker was not a part of the terms of his probation. This posed the question of who signed the warrant to revoke Santos’s supervision, and put him back into custody on the addendum.

According to Sequeira, “The only reason he’s back in custody is because either probation hooked him up on an addendum violation and didn’t get a judge to sign off on putting him in custody.”

After some difficulty locating more information on Santos’ case, Judge Peter Williams was able to find a misdemeanor complaint for which Santos was never arraigned. The filed complaint was for possession of a controlled substance. The revelation of this misdemeanor seemed to be new information to Sequeira.

At this point in the review, the parties were all expected to reconvene Thursday. Ms. Sequeira requested that Santos be released on his own recognizance so that he may return to court out of custody for his next review.

However, Deputy District Attorney Martha Wais quickly objected to this request and asked that Santos remain in custody. Wais cited the probation report filed on Santos, stating the defendant had not checked in to probation meetings, he provided PRCS with a false address, and accrued felony charges during the period of his probation.

In defending her reasoning, DDA Wais stated, “I rarely ever see the word abysmal used by probation,” in reference to the PRCS report on Santos’ behavior.

The court agreed that, due to the misdemeanor complaint along with the “scathing” probation report, Santos would be left in custody until further review of his case on Thursday.

With that the review ended…or so it seemed.

As the tail end of the afternoon court session approached, Ms. Sequeira once again circled back to Santos’ case. According to Sequeira, after a quick case number search of the misdemeanor complaint the court referred to, she realized that she had never seen the complaint before because it was not for Santos.

The complaint on possession of a controlled substance presented by the court was for another case, Mr. Adam Steffen, who had not shown up to his hearing.

Although the incorrect misdemeanor complaint against Santos was stricken from the court’s record, Santos was ordered to continue to remain in custody on the basis of the probation report and the addendum made by PRCS. Sequeira indicated in his next review she hoped to be able to figure out if anyone signed off on placing a GPS tracker on Santos, as it was not a part of his initial probation terms.

Yesterday, Thursday, the case of Moses Santos was reviewed in Department 12 under Judge Paul Richardson. Santos was represented by Deputy Public Defender Emily Fisher with Deputy District Attorney Jordan Greensburg.

While it was expected that the review would involve some investigation into the addendum and GPS tracker used by probation, the three-minute hearing did not acknowledge any of these matters. Fisher requested a continuance of the preliminary hearing, and claimed further investigation was required.

Curiously enough, Santos was out of custody during the hearing. Sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning his custodial status had been altered. Santos is expected to return to court on Oct. 15 for his preliminary hearing.

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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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