Judge Releases Mentally-Ill Defendant After Jail Refuses to Allow His Medication for Two Weeks

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By Ankita Joshi

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Jail’s decision not to allow required medication for a defendant—who his doctors said may not be competent to stand trial without it—led Yolo County Superior Court Judge Peter M. Williams to release the mentally-ill defendant Wednesday.

Defendant Antonio Solorio appeared in court for a progress hearing after two previous failures to show for this case. He had not had access to his medication since he was placed in custody April 1.

Judge Williams had received an email with the current medical evaluation for Solorio, which discussed whether Solorio is currently competent or not. And if he was taking his medication.

Deputy Public Defender Daniel A. Hutchinson outlined the reasons why Solorio would be eligible to be released that day, including referring to the medical evaluation.

“Based on the email, it is (the doctor’s) opinion that Mr. Solorio is currently competent, but he’s concerned that may change if he does not continue on his medication,” cited Hutchinson.

Solorio’s mother had spoken with Hutchinson previously and informed him that Solorio had just seven tablets of prescribed medication left. She had attempted to take this medication to the jail when Solorio was arrested, but she was turned away.

Hutchinson added that he had already confirmed Solorio’s eligibility to get emergency medication, and had made an appointment with the Health and Human Services Agency for an evaluation.

Based on all the above conditions, Hutchinson asked the court to release Solorio on OR (own recognizance release) or supervised OR to get his medications.

The biggest concern voiced by the defense was that the longer Solorio stays in custody, the longer he stays off his medication, the more likely it is that he will not stay competent.

At this point, Judge Williams interjected and questioned whether the medical report doesn’t explicitly state Solorio’s competency, regardless of its positive elements.

“He may stay stable a little longer, but not being familiar with his pattern of symptoms, he could fall apart tomorrow. There is some disorganized thinking, but he was able to connect it and make sense. He says he can cooperate with you,” quoted Judge Williams.

In response, Hutchinson pointed out a sentence in the third paragraph of the medical evaluation that described Solorio as “momentarily competent” and again voiced his concern that, without medication, Solorio’s competency wouldn’t last.

However, Deputy District Attorney Jordan Greenberg contended that the medical report received by the court was “vague,” and voiced his doubts about Solorio appearing in court, since he already had missed his last two appearances.

DDA Greenberg’s recommendation was for supervised release and a GPS monitor.

Judge Williams also voiced his concern about Solorio’s two previous failures to show on this case.

Hutchinson clarified that Solorio’s first failure to show was because he was being involuntarily held at the hospital, and the second failure to show was because Solorio and his mother did not receive notice of the court date because of a confusion with an incorrect number.

He amended that he had the correct contact information now, and had even spoken to Solorio’s mother an hour before.

On that, Judge Williams ordered Solorio to be released on SOR, and gave the Probation Department the executive decision of placing a GPS monitor on Solorio.

It was added that the primary condition of the SOR is that Solorio must take his medication.

The hearing ended with the Probation Department adding the condition that Solorio should have no contact with the victim.

Ankita Joshi is a second-year student at the University of San Francisco, pursuing a major in International Studies and a minor in Political Science. She is originally from Sacramento, CA.


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