DUI Judge Decries Lack of Organization with ‘We Can’t Do This’ – Livestream Abruptly Ends

By Emma Phillips

SACRAMENTO – Judge Philip F. Stanger of Sacramento County Superior Court Dept. 84 didn’t have a good Friday last week.

In fact, it seemed like chaos, with cases on calendar now transferred somewhere else, and other cases not on calendar expected to be heard.

The judge conferred with his clerk, bailiff and a representative of an alcohol education program in court on Friday. The judge heard multiple cases regarding DUI’s and breaches of probation, but there seemed to be a general lack of organization in the court.

Multiple cases had been transferred to different departments within Sacramento Superior Court, yet the alcohol education program representative brought them to the attention of the court, thinking they were on the afternoon calendar.

This visibly annoyed Judge Stanger, who recalled a similar situation that occurred about a year ago. He pointedly remarked how he has previously had issues with alcohol education programs not checking the court’s calendar before presenting cases, causing delays and confusion while in court.

Judge Stanger said that “we can’t go back there” to the representative, and said he might need to talk to her supervisor to ensure the lack of organization would not persist.

One case was moved to Dept. 2 of Sacramento Superior Court for arraignment, but no one in the court could determine if the defendant had finished the alcohol education program he was instructed to complete. The case was brought to the Dept. 84 calendar as a violation of probation issue.

However, all parties soon realized that the representative had brought another case up that had been moved to another department.

The program representative then named another defendant, to which the clerk responded that this court did not handle vehicle code violations. This instance was what caused Judge Stanger to explain to the court the previous disorganization he experienced with alcohol education programs and asked that these incidents not occur again.

Another case, that of defendant Jeremiah Palmer, was brought to the attention of the judge, but the clerk took it off of the calendar last week as it was moved to Dept. 8. She could not answer many other questions about the case, so Judge Stanger called the bailiff to try to fill the gaps.

The bailiff claimed he did not know what Dept. 8 was doing with the case, and the representative from the alcohol education program said the defendant had failed to file for alcohol education classes.

This fumble set off Judge Stanger, who said, “We can’t lose track of a felony. We can’t do this.”

The DUI program representative said she has had multiple contacts with the defendant since August but he still hasn’t enrolled, and Stanger repeated, “We can’t do this,” and set a bench warrant of $3.500 for Palmer to appear in court as soon as possible.

The livestream of Dept. 84 ended abruptly after this encounter, with no information given about future court proceedings for the Palmer case or any others.

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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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