Pretty Normal Arraignment Until In-Custody Man Muted, and Calls Judge ‘Dude’

By Alexander Ramirez

WOODLAND – It was a pretty routine livestream arraignment here in Yolo County Superior Court this week, with Erick Dwayne Denny on Zoom from county jail.

But that was before Denny called the judge a “dude.”

Denny was being arraigned on an alleged felony threat to commit a crime with intent to terrorize, and a misdemeanor false imprisonment without threats or violence on May 2. These counts also received enhancements for previous serious convictions and for habitual criminals.

The factual basis for what occurred on May 2 was read to Judge Tom Dyer by Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Palumbo, who noted Denny is accused of threatening the victim outside of the victim’s car and hitting the car’s side mirror hard enough to damage it. Denny was also accused of threatening to “F-up” the victim.

The DDA also said the investigation revealed that a history of Denny’s phone records reveals a long list of calls and messages sent to the victim on the day of the incident.

Because of this, Judge Dyer found reasonable evidence that Denny is a danger to the victim, and not only denied a motion for supervised own recognizance release but set bail at $100,000.

It was at this point that Denny started talking from his side of the Zoom call.

Denny began explaining that his car has been impounded and that he has an interview tomorrow, for what is assumed to be a job interview. He was hoping to be released on own recognizance.

All of Denny’s possessions are in his car, and he does not have family around or their phone numbers to contact.

This went on for less than a minute before Denny was muted by the court.

Deputy Public Defender Daniel A. Hutchinson tried to move on to other case matters, but Denny was unmuted. And again tried to plead for his wanting to be released on own recognizance.

Judge Dyer asked Denny not to interrupt him again, and reminded Denny that anything he says can be used against him in court.

Even after Denny explained his situation again, Judge Dyer failed to budge and instead set a Pre-Hearing Conference for June 3.

As Denny left the room to go back to his cell, he said, “This is crazy, dude,” realizing he would be missing that job interview.

Alexander Ramirez is a third-year Political Science major at the University of California, Davis. He hopes to hone his writing skills in preparation for the inevitable time of graduation.

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