By Stephanie Boulos
SACRAMENTO, CA – It looked like an apparent good deed may be rewarded, according to what happened in Sacramento County Superior Court Monday, even though it is a bit confusing.
Judge Patrick Marlette heard the case of defendant Latara Barnes, who was in court to bring proof of paying restitution related to a case in which she pleaded guilty to avoid her mother going to prison.
Barnes came to court Monday to deliver receipts of her attempt to pay restitution in whole; however, it was revealed she only paid $2,400 out of the $3,800 that was due to the county.
After Judge Marlette asked if the defendant was here before, as he seemed to recognize her case and asked what the cause of the discrepancy was in regard to payment, to which the defendant explained that when she went to pay “they told me that’s all I owed and they said that the rest was put on the franchise portal on a payment plan.”
Judge Marlette seemed incredibly perplexed as to the reason why she is paying franchise tax portal, to which the defendant explained that “my case was sent there and now my payments are $75 a month.”
The judge, after speaking with Deputy District Attorney Colin Stephenson, said “I am sure that you probably convinced me a long time ago that you’re a responsible person trying to take care of your business.”
After some looking into Barnes’ case, it was revealed that the restitution being paid was in regard to the mother of the defendant’s granddaughter, and was being paid for a broken TV and cellphone, along with some medical bills.
The defendant requested that she be able to speak, stating, “I don’t feel comfortable being a grandparent knowing I have a stay-away order from my granddaughter when I just saw her on Easter. I am a general manager at a gas station, and I’m trying to go up further but, with this felony, it’s holding me back.”
She continued, “I actually took the plea to the felony so my mother, a codefendant on the case, wouldn’t go to jail ’cause she wasn’t paying her bill and I am just saying this… I was supposed to only plead to vandalism I and only took the assault so I wouldn’t lose my driver’s license too.”
Judge Marlette responded by saying “how about I ask the DA to get in touch with the victim.. Do you think she would be okay with undoing the no contact and the restitution?”
Defendant Barnes responded by saying she believes the victim would be okay with that, even though they do not speak because of an ongoing case, because she has been relocated already, and the defendant was just with her granddaughter on Easter.
Judge Marlette responded by saying he wants to see if he could solve these problems: “I would hate to put this off another two weeks because every time you have come back you have done something responsible in order to get this resolved … I appreciate this, but let’s have the DA get in touch with the victim about getting this case dismissed, getting off the no contact, and calling the restitution.”
Judge Marlette then explained that the restitution wouldn’t be completely dismissed, that the defendant would still need to be paid, but the consequences of delaying payment would not take place.
Along with explaining the victim’s due process to be heard on this, Judge Marlette gave the DDA till July 12 at 8:30 a.m. to be back with the defendant and hopefully “they will be able to do this.”
Stephanie Boulos is a second year Political Science and Philosophy major at UC Davis from SoCal, hoping to pursue a career in law!
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