Settlement Conference with an Unsettled Defendant Ends in Frustration


By Derrick Pal

SACRAMENTO — “I don’t want to be here in this prison. Not one more day,” pleaded defendant Patricio Tenorio here in Sacramento County Superior Court Thursday—he had apparently reached his limit at about two weeks in custody, facing felony battery charges.

Before the settlement conference began, defendant Tenorio spoke with his Spanish interpreter, and vented his frustration with remaining in jail.

Judge Geoffrey Goodman began the hearing and addressed the defendant, asking him if he was comfortable with the hearing being conducted through livestream.

Defendant Tenorio replied, “Yes, of course…I just want my case to be resolved, that’s all.”

Judge Goodman asked if there is a resolution to the case, to which Deputy Public Defender Morgan Karalash stated that the defendant would like the court to consider releasing him on his own recognizance.

“Well, I can’t do that. It looks like he’s got a projected release date, 2/26, so he’s serving time on something, so…I wouldn’t do that,” responded Judge Goodman.

The judge continued, “…it looks like he’s serving time on a D.U.I., driving under the influence of drugs, [his] projected release date is 2/26. If you think you need more time, we could come back next week, see if he wants to resolve, or do whatever he wants…continue it further, set up a prelim, it’s up to you.”

DPD Karalash stated, “I’m agreeable with that approach, but I believe Mr. Tenorio may have a disagreement. It just looked like maybe he was trying to convey something to me, I saw him shaking his head.”

“Well, Ms. Karalash, tell us what we need to do. We have to do something,” urged Judge Goodman.

DPD Karalash responded that the defendant did not have a decision today, stating that she would like to come back next week.

Defendant Tenorio, however, started speaking again, which the interpreter translated: “I need to talk and say something before you cut me off.”

“No, no, sir, this is not the opportunity for you to address the court, you need to talk to your counsel,” replied Judge Goodman. “We’re giving you another week to make up your mind whether we want to set this for preliminary hearing or whether you want to accept the plea offer.”

The interpreter noted there was difficulty with the translation as the defendant started speaking, but Judge Goodman replied, “It’s fine, it’s fine, the case is over. That would just be random noise, so we don’t need to repeat it.”

The defendant put both hands on his head, visibly frustrated with the conclusion of the hearing.

“You just gotta tell me what you want to do with the case,” DPD Karalash responded, trying to address the concerns of the defendant.

“Because you don’t tell me what I need to do,” replied Tenorio in frustration.

“Try another offer, those are your options,” DPD Karalash tried to explain.

Clearly upset at this point, the defendant started speaking in Spanish, and DPD Karalash replied, “I don’t speak Spanish, you know that.”

The defendant continued speaking in Spanish, and Judge Goodman interrupted, stating, “Stop talking to him Ms. Karalash. He’s gotta go.”

Defendant Tenorio was told to leave, and he threw his hands up in defeat, but as he opened the door to leave, Tenorio slammed his fist against the door, his anger boiling over.

Derrick Pal is a fourth-year student at Sacramento State, majoring in Criminal Justice and pursuing a minor in Sociology. He is from Elk Grove, California.

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