Fresno Judge Gives Benefit of Doubt to Defendant, Grants Pretrial Release


By Pavan Potti

FRESNO – When Anthony Soto was hauled into Fresno County Superior Court last week, in-custody, it was because he was arrested for corporal injury to his wife/partner—but it became a bail hearing.

Despite having criminal history going back to 2013, Judge Francine Zepada of chose to look at the positives in Soto’s behavior over the years, calling them equally important indicators of whether or not he deserved a pre-trial release.

Private criminal defense attorney Joshua Powers claimed his client would return on further dates.

This was met with skepticism from Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz.

On the night of July 24, 2020, he said, Soto had been arrested in a local motel, where the victim had been repeatedly struck in the face before having more than $1000 in cash stolen from her.

Additionally, the defendant had multiple failure-to-appear cases, and charges on driving with a suspended license in Illinois.

What seemed to be a pre-preliminary hearing that was moving toward keeping Soto in custody slowly switched gears when Judge Zepada stepped in.

While she acknowledged to the defendant that his history of not showing up to court doesn’t look good for him, she did give him credit for completing his Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) program and expressed belief that he would make the right choices if he were to be released.

She further assured DDA Andrew Janz that there was only one out-of-state charge, and all the rest were local. She granted the defendant pretrial release while ordering Soto to abide by a protective order against the victim that would be valid for three more years. She also ordered a GPS monitor to be placed on the defendant until his preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for Sept. 2.

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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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