Yolo Public Defender Argues Police Report Doesn’t ‘Smell Right’ – Judge Disagrees But Lowers Bail

By Kelly Moran

WOODLAND – Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez on Wednesday in Yolo County Superior Court questioned—repeatedly—the veracity of a police report that served as probable cause for the arrest of Ismael Farias on a vandalism charge.

“Something doesn’t smell right here,” Gonzalez argued to Judge Peter Williams, after reviewing the declaration from Woodland police who arrested Farias, but didn’t mention the injuries Farias mysteriously sustained.

Farias, who was previously out on parole for a prior conviction of assault with a deadly weapon resulting in great bodily injury, is currently being held in Yolo County’s Monroe Detention Center, and appeared in court via Zoom.

“He does have a laceration to his right eye, which is sutured, and then it’s all red and purple, all around that eye as well,” said Gonzalez. “It sounded like he was assaulted in this, whatever happened, in this transaction.”

It was also revealed that Farias had to be taken to the hospital prior to being admitted to jail.

Gonzalez said that, according to the information he was provided on the case, it appears that the alleged vandalism occurred during a “parole bolt.”

The judge disagreed on the facts.

“I’ve got something different,” said Judge Williams, adding that the “probable cause declaration states that the defendant was walking down the middle of a four lane roadway, cars were swerving to avoid him, he swung his bike at one car, denting it and causing, in the officer’s estimation, over $400 in damage.”

Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Palumbo said that was a “fair rendition,” agreeing with the judge’s reading.

Gonzalez pushed back, noting that “it seems evident to me that there is a whole lot of information that’s missing, I think there’s way more to this than what (the report) says.”

Overall, Gonzalez’s position in the case was to get his client’s bail reduced from $75,000 to zero dollars so that Farias can be released on his own recognizance since Farias lives close to the courthouse and “law enforcement know exactly where to find him.”

While Judge Williams admitted that his initial calculation for the case would also be a zero dollar bail, DDA Palumbo argued against the suggestion for the defendant to be released.

“He did get into an incident in this particular case which is noted in the police report; however, his injuries were not caused by the person whose vehicle he’s alleged to have vandalized,” said Palumbo. “They are two separate incidents that happened around the same time, so this is a distinct vandalism charge.”

Palumbo wants Farias to remain in custody and have his bail set at $55,000 which includes the $25,000 bail for his parole case and $30,000 for the new charges.

In response, Gonzalez continued to question the timeline of events, “so after in close proximity in time he gets assaulted, and then he commits a random act of vandalism?

“We all have experience in knowing that what appears on a police report doesn’t always end up being what happened,” said Gonzalez, “but I just cannot believe that that would be the case here.”

“It may smell bad to you, it may be suspicious to you, but that doesn’t really advance the ball for me,” said Judge Williams.

After hearing out both sides, Williams lowered the defendant’s bail to $20,000.

Farias will continue to stay in custody at Monroe Detention Center, unless he can afford his bail, and will return to court on Nov. 4 at 10 a.m.

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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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