Defendant Worried He’d ‘Sign Away Rights’ When Court Document Printing Error Left Blank Side

By Stephanie Boulos

WOODLAND, CA – Apparently, at least one defendant here took heed of the old adage, “Don’t sign a blank document.”

After quickly running through several arraignments here in Yolo County Superior Court last Thursday, Judge Tom Dyer came across Defendant Rubio Salazar’s case—the defendant was hesitant to sign papers given to him by the bailiff for his release, in fear of signing away his rights

Salazar is facing charges of vandalism, harassment, and unauthorized entry. The judge arraigned Salazar, and assigned a date for a preliminary hearing later next month, with a posted bail of $25,000.

Judge Dyer moved along, going through the rest of the cases assigned for him in Courtroom 1 for the day. But, about an hour later, the deputy public defender assigned to defendant Salazar’s case came back into the courtroom slightly confused and apologizing for inconveniencing Judge Dyer for a second time.

The public defender explained that, after speaking with a defendant and asking him to sign a document given to him by the bailiff regarding his release, the defendant refused to sign the paperwork.

This document, usually containing a reverse side further clarifying a defendant’s rights and the meaning behind the document, was completely missing the backside. As a result, when the defendant read through the document, he came to the conclusion that he would be signing away his rights and refused to sign it in fear of doing something wrong.

Although it was explained he would not be signing away any rights, and that it was simply a printing error on the court’s part, the defendant would not sign. The public defender had to return to the court and clarify this error in order to reassure her client.

Judge Dyer, a little surprised and slightly amused, reassured the client he would not, in any way, be signing away his rights, and this was simply the result of the court’s printing and COVID-19 procedural changes.

The defendant agreed to sign, and Judge Dyer was done for the day—at least with this case.

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