Defendant Ignores Attorney throughout Hearing Despite Warnings

By Ankita Joshi

SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento County Superior Court experienced many continuances and resolution hearings Monday, and one appeared to involve a difficulty in communication between Assistant Public Defender Tatiana Cottam and Defendant Daniel Tui.

After the third time Tui chose to address the court, instead of talking through his attorney, Judge Michael Sweet muted the courtroom over Zoom, so that Cottam and Tui could have a moment to discuss before moving on to the next case.

Cottam was present to represent multiple defendants throughout the court session, but only seemed to have communication issues with Defendant Tui.

Prior to the hearing, Cottam had submitted a counter on the plea deal that was offered by the District Attorney’s Office.

However, Deputy District Attorney Tara Crabill stated that the District Attorney’s Office would not be able to accept the counter. The original plea deal offered was for eight years in state prison.

At this point, Tui turned to address the court and asked if he could pose a question.

Cottam repeatedly warned Tui not to address the court without consulting her, but Tui was adamant in his stance to ask the court.

Judge Sweet also warned Tui that he should be extremely careful about what he says, as the District Attorney’s Office would be able to use it against him in court.

Regardless, Tui asked, “I was wondering if I could just have a speedy trial?”

Without waiting for the court to respond, Cottam turned to Tui and said, “Yes, that’s what I’m asking for.”

Not guilty pleas were entered, and a date for a preliminary hearing was set for June 22.

DDA Crabill also wondered if a Humphrey motion would be discussed at the current moment, but Cottam stated that they were going to defer to the preliminary hearing.

However, Tui ignored Cottam and addressed the judge asking if he could go for a bail request, and Judge Sweet took a moment to explain that Tui was entitled to a bail review no matter what.

Tui, then, took this opportunity to address the court directly again, although PD Cottam was heard asking Tui to stop talking to the court, and to talk to her instead.

Tui asked the court one more question, about which Cottam replied, “Yes, that’s the one I’ve repeatedly told you about.”

“Ok, well, you haven’t really communicated that well with me,” replied Tui.

Judge Sweet muted the microphone for the courtroom Zoom at this point to give Tui and Cottam a moment to discuss. After a couple minutes, the next case was brought, and court continued.

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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