‘He Can Sit in Jail’ Rules Exasperated Judge Savage After Slow-Moving Court Negotiations

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By Dorrin Akbari

SACRAMENTO, CA – Judge Michael Savage—contending that his time was being wasted—gave an ultimatum to Assistant Public Defender Vadim Kobrya and defendant Larry Richardson Friday here in an effort to pressure them to make a decision.

PD Kobrya was told by a visibly exasperated Judge Savage that his discussions with and on behalf of his client in Sacramento County Superior Court Friday were a waste of the court’s time.

Richardson was in custody for trespassing, carrying a concealed dagger, and resisting arrest following an incident at a storage facility. He had a dispute with the facility owner where he rents a storage locker.

Deputy District Attorney Emilee Divinagracia outlined the terms of Richardson’s plea offer for the court: Richardson would be pleading to two counts of trespassing in exchange for 90 days, a waiver of his other charges, and informal probation. The conditions of his waiver, however, became a source of complication.

To have his trespassing charge waived, Richardson had to agree to stay away from the storage facility at which the incident had occurred. Richardson expressed to Kobrya that he was actively paying for a unit at the facility and needed to recover his belongings before he could agree to the stay away order.

DDA Divinagracia was sympathetic to Richardson’s situation. Given that a confrontation had taken place between the defendant and the property owner of the storage facility, she noted that the stay away order would stand, but Richardson could be given a date to relocate his items to a new facility beforehand.

Judge Savage interjected to remind DDA Divinagracia that the owner of the storage facility may have changed the locks on the defendant’s unit to prevent him from gaining access following the incident.

“I don’t think we should take his plea today. I think those facts should be resolved first. Otherwise, I see another confrontation brewing between Richardson and the owner of the storage facility,” said Judge Savage.

Richardson would have to waive time to allow for proceedings to continue. When PD Kobrya asked him to do so, Richardson expressed hesitation; he wanted to pick up his belongings over the weekend so that his case could be resolved during his Monday appearance.

While Kobrya went back and forth with his client in an attempt to explain to Richardson why it wouldn’t be possible for him to gather his belongings before the Monday hearing, Judge Savage became visibly irritated.

“Mr. Richardson doesn’t want to waive time, so let’s just put the [preliminary hearing] out two days—he can sit in jail for two more weeks,” said Judge Savage to DDA Divinagracia as Kobrya continued to try to explain the situation to his client.

Less than a minute later, Judge Savage addressed Kobrya, “As much as I enjoy watching you negotiate these details with your client, if you don’t tell me to waive time right now, I’m just going to put it over myself.”

Before Kobrya could respond, Judge Savage rendered his ruling and reset Richardson’s preliminary hearing to March 29. There was no further discussions allowed from any of the parties present.

Dorrin Akbari graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 with a B.A. in Legal Studies and a minor in Persian. She is from San Jose, CA.

 

 


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