Mother Stays Out of Jail for Now Despite Arguments from Prosecution to Put Her Away

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By Roxanna Jarvis

WOODLAND, CA – A Yolo Superior Court judge gave defendant Barbara Parlette another chance after she failed to complete her jail sentence for the second time—citing her duty as a mother as a possible reason for incompletion—and keeping her out of jail. For now.

Judge Daniel P. Maguire listened to both arguments from deputy public defender John Sage and deputy district attorney Alvina Tzang when making the decision to either give Parlette a second chance or place her into custody.

Parlette was sentenced to 10 days in jail January 2020 to serve time for two cases that involved misdemeanor charges of receiving stolen property, vandalism, and possession of paraphernalia.

According to DDA Tzang, Parlette failed to surrender in January 2020 and finally appeared in court Dec. 2020 after a warrant was placed.

Tzang told the court that Monica Brushia, supervising attorney with the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office, had asked her if she’d be willing to give her another chance or consider her time as already being served.

Brushia, who represents Parlette, was told by Tzang that Parlette had plenty of time to turn herself in.

“We have repeatedly given her time to surrender and do jail time and something will always come up,” Tzang said.

During the hearing, PD Sage, covering for Brushia, explained why Parlette was not able to surrender.

“Ms. Parlette was given two different dates to surrender so far and she’s missed both. The first date was good cause because she had a baby … The second date was [because] CPS asked her to enter into a treatment program, which she did.”

Parlette is currently enrolled in the program.

Sage added Parlette could provide a letter from CPS saying that she was told to enroll in the treatment program. “When CPS tells you to do something and it is related to your children, you generally do it,” argued Sage.

“Well, that’s a good principle, but when the court tells you to do something you generally do it as well,” responded Judge Maguire.

As a response, DDA Tzang continued to push that Parlette had plenty of time to do her 10 days, even before the program. “I do not have anything showing that she attempted to make arrangements between the last court date (in Feb. 2021) and before she checked herself into the program (in March).

“Based on the track record and history of this case, I just don’t think she made any good faith attempt to serve this jail time … I do not see any good excuse,” noted the prosecutor.

She then commented on the likelihood of CPS forcing the defendant to go to treatment with jail time still needed to complete.

“I explained to Ms. Brushia that I will be very surprised that Ms. Parlette notified CPS of the fact she has court obligations to surrender to do jail time, [and] that CPS would tell her to ignore the obligation and check herself into the program,” said the DDA.

When asked if CPS knew she had to serve time, Sage answered, “If she informed CPS that she had a jail obligation? That I don’t know, judge, and that’s one of the things we’ll have to have addressed in the letter from CPS.”

Sage requested that Parlette not be jailed that day, and instead come back one week later with a letter from CPS.

To aid in his decision, Judge Maguire asked DDA Tzang one question: “Might such a letter make any difference, or are you assuming she was ordered to do this and you’re faulting her for not telling them about jail?”

Maguire then quickly added, “Of course, termination of parental rights is permanent—a misdemeanor conviction is a little less serious, so maybe she didn’t prioritize it.”

Tzang agreed that it would make a difference, requesting the next hearing to be in two weeks.

“It will make a difference if the CPS letter states that Ms. Parlette did tell them about the jail obligation and they still told her ‘Either you could do the jail time or you can lose your kids,’” clarified Tzang.

Roxanna Jarvis is a fourth-year student at UC Berkeley, currently majoring in Political Science with a minor in Public Policy. She is from Sacramento, California.


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