Judge Issues Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars of Bench Warrants for Court No Shows


By Ruby Chavez

FRESNO – Fresno County Superior Court Judge Francine Zepeda had too many no shows Tuesday and she issued bench warrants—hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of them.

Toward the end of court, there was nobody left in the courtroom, so the department began to recall those who did not show up to court earlier. One defendant was issued a bench warrant with no bail.

Judge Zepeda was frustrated that when she read a familiar defendant’s name, Kalen Escovedo, who was supposed to be at court for a probation hearing, she quipped, “Mr. Escovedo shows up and he does not show up.” Then smiling, she issued the bench warrant for $50,000.

There were about 15 cases of no shows. Judge Zepeda quickly ordered each case to have a bench warrant.

Assistant Public Defender Keegan Smith was overwhelmed by his clients not reaching out to him when they are not going to show up to court, or they do not get in contact with the court in general to let them know they will not be going to court.

He said it was stressful to prepare for their court dates and then defendants do not show up to court.

Judge Zepeda is said to be one judge who does not tolerate defendants not showing up to court, not contacting counsel or the courts, and not putting themselves on the schedule for the next date or another date in the same week.

Missing court is Judge Zepeda’s pet peeve, in fact. Her bench warrants that were issued were high, as well. The lowest was at $10,000 and the highest was at $50,000. One was set at no bail .

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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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