Acting As Own Attorney, Defendant Charges Jail Depriving Him of Contacting Legal Team, Files Motion for Dismissal


By Sally Kim

SACRAMENTO — Defendant Perris Lee acted as his own attorney here in Sacramento County Superior Court just before New Year’s break, and charged that he was being deprived by the county jail of reasonable contact with his investigator.

Lee, who has been offered a plea bargain offer of four years in prison for his felony charge and a dismissal of the misdemeanor charge by the DA’s office, told the court he couldn’t consider the offer because “I haven’t been able to meet with my investigator…because they’ve been depriving me of my legal phone calls as well as my legal visits.”

He claimed that whenever jail guards let him out for a phone call, it’s either at 6 or 7 a.m. or 10 or 11 p.m., quipping “people do sleep, understand that.” He added that he actually just left a meeting with his investigator, but it was very brief and rushed because he had to come to court.

He started to mention that he wants to file a motion but the judge interrupted him saying, “We can’t talk about too many things, we have to take them one at a time” and asked for the defendant’s clarification on his position on the plea offer.

Lee answered that he is not rejecting the offer and will take the offer into consideration, but then immediately repeated he would like to file a motion of dismissal for a Brady violation, which asserts that the prosecution is withholding information that favors the defendant.

The judge asked to what date he wants to set the motion and that he would need to provide the paperwork for the motion. But Lee had already prepared all the paperwork for the motion.

Deputy District Attorney A. J. Pongratz, standing in for DDA Jeff Harry, stated the office had not received the motion and that his understanding was that there were a number of motions and questions so, if Lee wanted to file one, it should be pushed to two weeks out.

The judge advised Lee to file the motions in court and send copies to the DA and that he would be given two weeks to do this. However, Lee asked if, since he had all the paperwork ready, he could just do it in court—the judge agreed.

Before the judge could say anything further, Lee asked for an order requiring the sheriffs to will allow him to get his legal assistance and phone calls.

Lee started to explain how he had missed his last two court dates because he had been attacked, when the judge interjected again, saying, “You’re giving me more information that I can handle at this point Mr. Lee. You can file your motions and we can take it from there.”

The defendant continued, informing the court that the public defender he fired contacted him on behalf of the DA’s office, and asking the judge if that is a violation of his attorney-client privilege.

The judge said that that may be a problem but that he cannot get to the bottom of that right now. He wrapped up by stating again that the defendant should file his motions in written form correctly to the court and DA’s office. Jan. 12 was set for a motions hearing.

Sally Kim is a senior at UCLA, majoring in Sociology. She is from the East Bay Area.

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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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