Man Who Made Remarks about Police May Not Be Allowed in Jail Alternative Program Run by Sheriff’s Dept.

By Ned Meiners and Dalia Bautista Rodriguez

SACRAMENTO, CA – Christopher Jackson’s sentence will be determined by an unfortunate circumstance: whether or not remarks he made to a police officer will preclude him from serving in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Work Project Program.

At a preliminary hearing Wednesday here at Sacramento County Superior Court, Judge Tami Bogert agreed to his service in the program instead of jail. However, should, for whatever reason, the Sheriff’s Office decide he is not wanted, he could serve out his term in jail.

On June 22, 2020, Jackson was riding in a vehicle which was stopped for a traffic violation. A search of the vehicle revealed a handgun under Jackson’s seat, which he confirmed was his. Under a previous felony conviction, Jackson is barred from owning or possessing a firearm.

At the preliminary hearing Judge Bogert expressed that there is a resolution based on conversations made off the record. A deal was offered of 180 days to be served in Sacramento County Jail or through the Sheriff’s Work Project Program in exchange for a plea of no contest. Upon completion of the first 90 days, the remaining 90 would be stayed.

The Sheriff’s Work Project Program is a work-release program that allows inmates to serve their sentences on electronically-monitored home detention, while participating in community projects. According to the Sheriff’s Office it is a humane and less disruptive alternative to incarceration.

Then again, the project bills defendants around $40 a day to work on the program. For Jackson, that could costs several thousand dollars. If a defendant can’t afford it, they have to do the time in jail.

Even after accepting such a plea, Jackson’s acceptance into the program is by no means a given.

According to Judge Bogert, it “is entirely up to Mr. Jackson to apply to any of the Sheriff’s Department’s alternative programs, and it’s entirely up to the Sheriff to decide whether to accept him.” She added that “…if the sheriff does not accept you, for any reason, you have to do that time inside the jail.”

This may prove to be a problem for Jackson. The police report states that Jackson made remarks about police officers at the time of his arrest that the sheriff’s office may find offensive.

According to defense attorney Joshua Kurtz, “Right now there is a reasonable concern they might not let him, based on the statements made in the report, and then he’s doing 180 [days in county jail].”

For Kurtz this would be unacceptable. Kurtz inquired as to whether or not the court would agree to home arrest through a private company he had utilized before. Judge Bogert dismissed such a plan without hesitation.

“My feeling is if they are not going to allow him [to serve in the project] , and we can’t come up with an alternative resolution, I would want him to be able to withdraw his plea at that point,” said the judge.

Judge Bogert countered with an offer that should he be denied acceptance to the Sheriff’s Work Project the court would re-examine sentencing at a later date. “I would make no representations about what that might look like.” she stated.

Without a firm commitment, Kurtz and Jackson proceeded to excuse themselves to discuss the options.

Upon return, they agreed to continue forward and it was decided that they would stay the sign-up for the Sheriff’s Work Project Program until July 21. Should he be rejected, he may resume the matter in court before he is due at Sacramento County Jail on Sept. 15.

In the absence of a commitment from the sheriff, Jackson’s future remains uncertain in spite of the court’s efforts. Although he pleaded no contest and has been offered a deal by the court, it may be to no avail.

At the conclusion of the hearing Jackson expressed regret that his remarks may cost him a chance to serve his sentence outside of jail, noting, “I would like to apologize to the remarks I made to the officer. I was inebriated, that is no excuse, but I do want to apologize for the remark that I made.”

Dalia Bautista Rodriguez is a third year- transfer at UC Davis and majoring in Community & Regional Development. She is originally from Guadalupe, CA.

Ned Meiners is a Legal Studies student at City College San Francisco. Originally from Maine, he currently resides on Bernal Hill in San Francisco.

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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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