By Peter Eibert
WOODLAND, CA – Alan Pugliese was in Yolo County Superior Court this week for an arraignment for alleged domestic violence against his girlfriend and for damaging a wireless communication device.
Pugliese entered a not guilty plea to the felony domestic violence charge.
Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Jonathan Opet and Deputy District Attorney Robin Johnson argued about whether Pugliese should be released from custody on his own recognizance, without bail.
Among the considered factors were Pugliese’s apparently ambiguous criminal record, Pugliese’s score on the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA), which assesses the likelihood of domestic assault between partners, and the condition of the victim.
PD Opet argued that Pugliese should be released on his own recognizance, stating that “this [domestic violence] has never happened before in their [Pugliese and the victim’s] relationship.”
The situation became more complicated as Pugliese’s prior convictions were discussed.
PD Opet asserted that the 61-year-old Pugliese’s prior convictions were from “30-40 years ago,” although PD Opet could not confirm that assertion.
DDA Johnson then countered by listing Pugliese’s prior convictions, questioning where the “30-year-old criminal history came from.”
In Santa Barbara County in 2010, Pugliese was twice convicted of resisting police officers by violence or threatening violence. Also in Santa Barbara County, but in 2013, he was convicted of felony possession of marijuana for sale.
And court records show Pugliese also has a history of failing to appear to court in Monterey County in 1981.
DDA Johnson then mentioned the effect the alleged crime has had on the victim, noting how the victim told the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office how she “fears if [Pugliese] is let out.”
DDA Johnson also asserted that the alleged facts of the case, “where the victim is in fear and had visible injuries,” indicate that the court “should keep him in custody with bail… and that the court should have a no-contact criminal protective order.”
Notably, contrary to DDA Johnson’s expectations, the victim failed to appear in court on Zoom as scheduled.
Additionally, Pugliese’s ODARA score was worryingly high, indicating that “the likelihood of [Pugliese] committing another domestic assault within the next five years is highly likely.”
However, PD Opet questioned the ODARA score as “highly suspect.”
He argued that it is “completely inconsistent with what we know about [Pugliese]… if that were a valid score, then one would think there would be a history of domestic violence… and I don’t see information of that.”
PD Opet added that Pugliese poses little danger if he were to be released from custody, maintaining “the criminal history [of Pugliese] is old… and as men get older, particularly into their sixties, their likelihood of recidivism or crime goes down quite a bit.”
In response to all of the considered factors, Judge David W. Reed said he “couldn’t find particularly weighty the number of crimes committed many years ago, [but] I’m always concerned when someone is acting violent toward someone else.”
In a “close-call” decision, Judge Reed granted Pugliese supervised release on his own recognizance.
However, Judge Reed also signed a no-contact protective order, which forbids Pugliese from contacting the victim.
Judge Reed subsequently issued a stern warning to Pugliese, stating that if Pugliese violates the protective order, then he “can expect to go to jail for violating [the terms of his supervised release].”
The preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 8 in Yolo County Superior Court Dept. 14.
Peter Eibert is a fourth-year student at UC Davis, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. He is originally from Half Moon Bay, California.
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