Court Session Had It All – Unhoused and Grandmother Defendants Topped the Docket

By Yevangelina Poghosyan and Jose Medina

SACRAMENTO, CA – Throughout Tuesday’s Dept. 60 session in Sacramento County Superior Court, Judge David De Alba had to deal with totally different cases, from one about a young man experiencing homelessness and facing charges of battery, false imprisonment and violation of probation, to a grandmother facing two counts of threatening and one count of vandalism.

One ended with a defendant being released, but another being denied a release despite the charges not being as harsh as the first case.

Defendant Shawn White was present in court for his arraignment hearing, charged with false imprisonment, committing battery against someone with whom he’s had a dating relationship, and an alleged violation of his probation.

According to Deputy District Attorney Rona Filippini, White strangled his dating partner at a light rail station. White came up from behind the victim and grabbed her by the neck and tried to lure her to a car.

Filippini added that White threatened the victim, telling her to “come with me right now, before I push you in front of the car.” The victim then tried to run away and White grabbed her back, but after some time the defendant got in a car and left yelling to the victim, “I’m going to kill you.”

White was visibly upset by the accusations and interrupted the court shouting, “She’s got my money, that never happened.” White then started sobbing and collapsed on a chair with his hands on his face.

He continued with a lump in his throat, saying “she’s trying to take my EDD money and that’s why she’s lying like this”

It was later revealed to the court that White is homeless and does not have a stable job. Judge De Alba appeared to then be compassionate toward the defendant as he started asking White where he would live if he were to be released. White insisted that he would live with his cousin if he were to be released.

The court then decided to release White on the conditions that he stays with his cousin and that he stays 100 yards away from the victim.

Judge De Alba then asked White, “How do you like being in jail?”

White sorrowfully answered, “I don’t like it at all.”

Judge De Alba then sent the defendant off with a stern warning, saying “if you violate my conditions you’ll go back.”

While White was treated compassionately by Judge De Alba, defendant Ariella Kidd was treated indifferently, despite her circumstances.

Defendant Kidd was present in court for her arraignment hearing on the same day as White, charged with two counts of a violation of Penal Code section 422—the law prohibiting one from threatening another, as well as a count of vandalism.

Judge De Alba appointed Assistant Public Defender Juan Corona as her counsel. While the two of them were discussing plans for the case, Kidd interjected and began saying that she had “a three-year old granddaughter” she takes care of full time.

Kidd repeated herself several times, growing in volume and passion each time, begging the court for any way she could be released.

Public Defender Corona then asked the judge if there was any way to change her bail status, but given that there was no pre-trial assessment, Judge De Alba stated that all he could do was to set an earlier date for the next hearing.

Kidd then began repeating herself more aggressively to the fullest extent court etiquette would allow, desperate to explain how dire her situation was.

When interrupted by the judge she then burst out that she has “pages and pages of this woman violating me, and calling me, and texting me…I’ve had to change my number seven times.”

Finally, Judge De Alba interrupted and explained how serious the crimes she is accused of are and how little information they all have. He lowered her bail and set her court date for next week, sending her back into jail for the time being.

Jose graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Political Science and has interned for the California State Legislature. He is from Rocklin, CA.

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