Visiting Judge Complains about Yolo Releasing Too Many People – Deputy DA Agrees


By David M. Greenwald

Woodland – It was a routine case during arraignments on Wednesday with visiting Judge Renard Shepard presiding, and the DA made the request to hold someone on bail for vandalism charges—despite it being a zero bail offense.  Judge Shepard would remark that Yolo County was releasing too many felons on OR.

After that the judge misspoke, asking the public defender what bail should be.

Deputy DA Carolyn Palumbo deadpanned, “Don’t ask madam PD because that would be a very low bail.  Mine’s going to be much (higher).”

“That would be a book and a blanket,” Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira responded.

But Palumbo was all business, noting that the most serious case involved two arsons.  “I would ask for $50,000 on that,” she said.  “I would ask for $25,000 on the other two.  I realize vandalism is a zero bail offense.  However, she is out committing crime after crime and failing to appear.”

That brought total bail to $100,0000—which Judge Shepard agreed to.

“These folks get OR’d from the jail?” the judge asked.

Both attorneys responded affirmatively.

“Do they even take them to the jail or do they release them to the street?” he continued.

“Both.  A lot of times, they just release them,” Palumbo responded.

“Is your jail overcrowded?” he asked.

“No,” Palumbo said.  “It’s half empty.”

“We just are more progressive than some other counties,” Sequeira responded.

“They let these felons go out on the street like this?” the judge asked.

“Judge,” Sequeira said half-laughing, “they are presumed innocent at this point, judge.”

“I feel your pain, your honor,” Palumbo added.  “I feel your pain.”

In the meantime, they moved on to the Trevor Edens case, the former Davis Police Officer charged with a count of felony embezzlement.  However, Solano County is prosecuting that case—in Yolo Superior Court—and Palumbo reported to the judge that Solano’s prosecutor had an emergency and had requested the matter be put over for a week.

Judge Renard Shepard was appointed in 1988 to the Sacramento Municipal Court by Governor Deukmejian and elevated to Superior Court in 1998.  He had previously worked as a Deputy City Attorney in Los Angeles and a Deputy DA in Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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