By Derrick Pal
WOODLAND, CA — A defendant’s failure to understand he won and was being released created a little confusion and frustration here in an arraignment at Yolo County Superior Court Monday—to his credit, when the defendant realized his mistake, he apologized to the judge.
Defendant Jeffery Hammit was charged with misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine.
Judge Stephen Mock began the hearing, stating, “Good morning sir, so I have a criminal complaint filed, a single charge, the charge is misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine. I have a Deputy District Attorney here…so Ms. Wais, what is your department’s position about the resolution of this case?”
“Mr. Hammit is eligible for harm reduction diversion,” explained DDA Martha Wais, adding, “In lieu of prosecution, he would be referred to the health and human services department for appropriate treatment. We are going to ask, and we will do that by letter, that this case be dismissed.
“The other two cases are FTAs [failures to appear], so I would ask the court to dismiss those in the interest of justice,” stated DDA Wais.
Judge Mock started to speak, “With regard to the case that I do have…I will dismiss that case at the People’s request. I assume that Mr. Hammit should expect to receive a letter in the mail sometime soon…”
But the judge was suddenly interrupted by a seemingly outraged defendant.
“Your Honor, if I could just say something, if I may,” began defendant Hammit. This case is three years old. I was put in prison for over a year, but out of prison, nobody told me about a warrant. I checked in with probation every month for a year, and when I was out of probation, nobody ever told me about a warrant.
“This would have been taken care of, your Honor. I have immunity since May 31, 2018, now you guys are coming back three years ago and saying your gonna put me on probation, and I gotta do what?” argued Hammit, who was now clearly upset.
DDA Wais tried to interrupt but was unsuccessful.
“It’s your guy’s fault that I didn’t have knowledge of this warrant,” charged defendant Hammit in frustration.
“The case has been dismissed,” emphasized Judge Mock, attempting to clear up the confusion the defendant seemed to have, adding, “They are just, they’re going to send you a letter explaining what you can do at this time.”
Defendant Hammit appeared taken aback after hearing this, now realizing his mistake.
“I’m sorry, your Honor, I’m sorry. I apologize. I thought something else was going on here,” stated defendant Hammit, now laughing at the misunderstanding.
DDA Wais smiled and shook her head at the situation.
“Thank you, your Honor,” stated Hammit.
“All right, and you’re free to leave, Mr. Hammit,” concluded Judge Mock.
With this misunderstanding now cleared, defendant Hammit thanked Judge Mock once more and exited the courtroom, relieved and happy.
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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