By Özge Terzioğlu and Sally Kim
SACRAMENTO – Assistant Public Defender Noel Calvillo is a busy guy—he asked the court to continue his client’s case, which has been set for trial since before Feb. 2020, to next year because he has four trials next week.
In custody on $257,000 bail for more than a year awaiting trial, defendant Joshua Thomas—facing six charges, including felony burglary and assault with a deadly weapon—was in Dept. 60 of Sacramento County Superior Court to set the trial readiness conference for his trial.
However, Calvillo requested the judge grant good cause to continue Thomas’s case to January because the public defender has four trials next week and there’s been trouble coordinating witnesses’ availability.
The temporary judge disagreed and smirked knowingly while she told the PD that his trials set for next week might go away, enter plea deals, or also be set for continuances. She concluded that she wasn’t so sure that there was sufficient finding for good cause for a continuance in this case.
The judge continued with her reasoning that the defendant has expressed a desire to stay in court and that his case has been set for trial since “before February 2020.” She told the attorneys that she believes this case needs to take some precedence since it’s been postponed for almost a full year.
With that, Deputy District Attorney Courtney Martin chimed in to support PD Calvillo’s wishes to continue the trial to early next year. Martin moved the focus from the PD’s busy trial schedule and to the fact that the witness availability issues are the main reason for requesting the judge find good cause for a continuance.
DDA Martin added, “I would ask to trail this case to the end of the trail period, which the last day would be Jan. 6, 2021. I ask to trail this to Jan. 4, 2021.”
She fully explained the witness availability issues so the court would understand its significance in the case, noting multiple witness police officers are out on leave. One officer, who was at the victim’s house, is on family leave through Christmas.
Another officer, who made observations and got evidence from the victim, is out of the office. The primary officer who is on arrest report is on extended medical leave. DDA noted that witness availability is a normally common issue around the holidays.
The judge asked PD Calvillo to elaborate on his other trial dates. He stated that he had two trials on Monday but only one will go, the other will go out the following Monday, Dec. 14. He expects this trial to take five to seven days in addition to two other trials around this period.
Yet another case that could last up to three weeks, and a homicide case may take two weeks. Still, the public defender added, “Judge, I think this case needs to go to trial, but I’ll continue it to Jan. 4.”
The judge stated that it seems like PD Calvillo has more complicated trials that he needs to attend to in the following weeks and asked him, “Will they take precedence over Thomas’ case?”
PD Calvillo responded saying that they will take precedence over Thomas’s case and proceeded to emphasize his request for good cause.
The judge granted the good cause continuation, but emphasized the importance of taking this case to trial because it’s been set for trial for a long time, since before Feb. 2020. The TRC is set for Dec. 30 at 1:30 p.m. in Dept. 60 and the trial is set for Jan. 4 at 8:45 a.m. in Dept. 9.
Özge Terzioğlu is from San Diego and she is a sophomore at UC Berkeley majoring in Rhetoric and minoring in Turkish.
Sally Kim is a senior at UCLA, majoring in Sociology. She is from the East Bay Area.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: