New COVID-19 Spike Convinces Defendant to Pay Fine and Skip Community Service

By Ruby Chavez

FRESNO- The second wave of coronavirus cases is spiking, and since California is now a hot zone, a defendant here does not want to proceed with community service for fear of getting infected by the virus out in public.

Tuesday, in Fresno County Superior Court, Assistant Public Defender Akshay Jain said defendant Ivan Gonzales did not want to continue with community service and wanted to pay the fine. Jain said that Gonzales does not want to become exposed to COVID-19.

Fresno County is in the purple tier, Judge Denise Whitehead understood Gonzales’ request and the prosecution had no objection to the request of the defendant. The defendant did complete up to 10 hours of his community service; he now owes a fine of $200.

Judge Whitehead asked, “Mr. Gonzales, how long would you need to pay that fine?”

“I can pay today,” Gonzales replied.

Judge Whitehead ordered he must have the fee paid by January 19, 2021.

Governor Newsom has now ordered an emergency shutdown throughout California. This is putting three-quarters of the state’s counties under more strict pandemic requirements. Newsom is issuing a mandatory statewide order, and this causes the state to go back to phase 1.

This is anticipated to lead to even more restrictions. This will affect indoor activities once again. It may even affect the courts—most superior courts have opened up trials and hearings to the public, although masks are required at all times and visitors to courtrooms are socially distanced.

In the past 10 days, the state of California has reached one million cases. This may have caused defendant Gonzales’ fear of becoming infected by the virus or exposing others. The State of California is blaming citizens who have become tired of quarantine and are still socializing with no mask or proper distancing.

Governor Newsom has four tiers, color coded, for reopening of the counties. The purple tier is what causes counties across California to shut down.

Fresno and most of the Central Valley is in the purple tier. If Mr. Gonzales is in that purple tier, he is more likely to become infected, which is why he decided to pay the fee.

Ruby Chavez is a graduating senior at California State University Sacramento majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Sociology. She is from Visalia, California

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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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