After Suspect Jailed for 9 Months, Judge Dismisses Charges


By Stephanie Boulous and Sam Zou

SACRAMENTO, CA – Erik Rogers appeared at Sacramento County Superior Court, Dept. 61, Monday over two misdemeanor charges related to trespassing and violating a protective order.

He asked Assistant Public Defender Cottam to “please get this resolved,” and minutes later walked away free.

Public defender Tatiana Cottam rejected the report’s plea for conservatorship and instead asked for dismissals of both charges on behalf of Rogers. 

Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weiss noted the defendant has been in custody for quite some time—since September 2020—and objected to the defendant’s petition for dismissal.

Though brief and often exchanged quickly, conversations between Rogers and his counsel appeared to indicate Cottam had to repeatedly reassure or explain some of the simpler instructions or explanations given by Judge Geoffrey Goodman. 

This later became one of the vital reasons Rogers’s charges were later dismissed, despite his conscious violation of a restraining order.

To better understand the facts of the case and the reasons for two misdemeanors charges on the defendant, Judge Goodman asked for a factual basis of the case from DDA Weiss, who said Rogers was at a Montessori school, close to a place where he had had a restraining order against him for domestic violence. 

On the school campus, Rogers was allegedly caught on the school’s camera, allegedly sodomizing himself with a broomstick, but he was only charged with trespassing and violation of a court order, according to the public filings.

PD Cottam attempted to contextualize the situation and explain the reasons behind Rogers’s misdemeanor charges. 

First, PD Cottam established Rogers’ violation of the restraining order as unintentional and harmless, noting that in the police report, the defendant was about 65 yards away from the location indicated on the restraining order, while the order itself asks for at 100 yards distance. 

“I understand that he wasn’t knocking on the door or anything like that,” said Judge Goodman. The distance remaining between the house and the defendant is indeed still close enough to harass or harm anyone or any property, he said.

Second, Cottam cited Rogers’ developmental disabilities as a contextual explanation for his abnormal behavior in public, “which is why the hospital says that ‘he cannot be restored,’” added Cottam.

DDA Weiss then cut in to inform the judge that the nature of the restraining order was domestic violence, to which Judge Goodman said that he is “inclined to grant your motion, if it was just a count one I would have… I owe it to the People and the victim to allow them to weigh in.” 

Weiss clarified that the restraining order was for elder abuse and the defendant would stay on probation with the restraining order till 2023. 

Judge Goodman granted PD Cottam’s motion and dismissed current charges against Rogers.

Stephanie Boulos is a second year Political Science and Philosophy major at UC Davis from SoCal, hoping to pursue a career in law!

Sam Zou is currently a third year Political Science major student at UCLA. Within the field of political science, he is particularly interested in political economy and international politics. He hopes to contribute his passion for political science through contributing to the local community and beyond.

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About The Author

Koda is an incoming senior at UC Berkeley, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Rhetoric. He is from Ventura, CA.

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