Judge Listens, Overrules Prosecution and Releases Homeless, Health-Challenged Defendant Awaiting Trial Despite History of Missing Court


By Stephanie Boulos

YOLO COUNTY- The judge here in Yolo County Superior Court Friday, recognizing a homeless defendant had medical issues and a lack of resources, took a “flyer”—against the prosecution’s wishes—and released him from jail without any bail ahead of his April trial.

Judge Tom Dyer presided over the case of George Stevens, who reportedly has multiple failures to appear—usually meaning he would not be released without bail—due to memory-related health issues.

Because of his medical condition and his homelessness, Stevens has difficulty remembering to register and appear for his court dates, said his lawyer.

Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira noted the defendant’s medical-related conditions that have resulted in his failures to appear, along with the lack of resources for the defendant.

After hearing all this, Deputy District Attorney Robin Johnson was swift in promptly opposing Sequeira’s request that the defendant be released. Johnson stated he was not eligible to be released on his own recognizance because of two open violations, and his past failures to appear. Additionally, the DA claimed that his medical conditions weren’t made apparent to the court previously, to her knowledge.

Sequeira immediately fired back that the defendant’s medical condition was noted by the court in earlier cases, explaining his condition in great detail, bringing up that Stevens has conditions which have resulted in contributing to these violations.

While Sequeira was speaking to Judge Dyer, the defendant could be heard multiple times attempting to speak to the judge, but was immediately reminded that anything he said could be used against him and he should allow his attorney to represent him.

Regardless, the defendant’s persistence in voicing his willingness to appear whenever needed was noticeable.

The public defender brought up her desire to get the defendant’s Medicare renewed, a CalFresh account set up, and get him reestablished on Social Security.

She also noted that, because Stevens has a prior conviction, he is disqualified from staying in shelters, and this, too, is a contributing factor to his violations.

Judge Dyer listened to both sides, and after asking why this defendant should be released, with his history of failing to appear, the defendant immediately cut him off and was insisting he will show up.

Public defender Sequeira immediately quieted the defendant from speaking, and presented the case to Judge Dyer that she doing everything she can to put all the necessary resources in place for the defendant to do his best to show up.

Judge Dyer apparently was listening to the public defender. He ruled that Stevens should be released with no bail, on his own recognizance, and set a jury trial for April 26 in Dept. 7.

Stephanie Boulos is a second year Political Science and Philosophy major at UC Davis from SoCal, hoping to pursue a career in law!

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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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