By Heather Hamilton
SACRAMENTO – It may have taken a month, but in the end Nicholas Shadrick received the mental health help he needed. It was a somewhat long and winding road.
Charged with battery in an incident around April 1, Shadrick had a series of hearings here in Sacramento County Superior Court, where his Assistant Public Defender Audrey Kyan argued to have her client released from custody so he would get access to the court’s mental health diversion program.
The judge refused to release Kyan’s client in July.
Finally, on Aug. 27, he was referred to mental health diversion, and on Sept. 1 his charges were dismissed.
But in July, Judge Patrick Marlette didn’t necessarily expect Kyan’s motion for release in July, and neither did Deputy District Attorney Nick Karp, who appeared as a stand in for DDA Allison Weeder and also appeared via Zoom.
Kyan came prepared to present a motion for Shadrick’s release on his own recognizance (“OR”).
Judge Marlette was not aware of the change and jested with the parties about the new agenda. “Instead of seeing my son pitch at the baseball game, instead I stayed up reading this,” referring to the consolidation motion. “If I had a son,” he then added.
The deputy district attorney laughed and the assistant public defender continued.
Kyan explained the reason for the OR motion is a change in circumstances. In July, her office filed a motion requesting mental health diversion for Shadrick. California Penal Code § 1001.36 allows some people with mental disorders to receive treatment when they are charged with a crime.
This program is known as “mental health diversion” in California. If the defendant successfully completes treatment, the criminal charges will be dismissed.
Kyan told the court that, due to a lack of quality mental health professionals that can access the jails currently, Shadrick cannot be assessed for mental health diversion unless he is released from custody. Kyan said this information was reported to her by the office social worker Yaminaka.
According to Kyan, assessments in the PD’s office go to Yaminaka and she arranges with jail services. Kyan claimed that Yaminaka informed her that Shadrick could not get a treatment plan to assess him for mental health diversion while in custody.
However, the judge was also skeptical of what the defense claimed.
“I have not heard this and this doesn’t sound right to me…I haven’t heard of this problem that they can’t be assessed unless out of custody,” said the judge, adding that if true it was a shame because the very people who should not be released without some kind of supervision are often the ones needing the treatment plan.
Shadrick allegedly violated a criminal protective order related to the case and the court did not believe that he would obey orders of the court. “God bless you counsel but none of this makes sense,” said the judge in denying the request.
Kyan asked if more information from Yaminaka could sway the court’s ruling on OR. The judge said it would be helpful to put the district attorney on notice so they can take a look and address what is going wrong with access to mental health diversion for in-custody defendants.
It took a month, but Shadrick was released to the mental health diversion program.
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