Public Defender Takes 15-Minute Break to Talk to Aggravated Defendant Who Repeatedly Interrupted Court Proceedings

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By Luke Kyaw

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Tom Dyer knew something was brewing when an arraignment hearing regarding the custody status of defendant Kurt Obermueller last Friday was punctuated by outbursts from the defendant.

Obermueller was in custody, and it was obvious that he felt wronged, as expressed by his numerous confrontational interruptions during the court proceedings.

Even before Judge Dyer had read the charges made against him, the Obermueller had already yelled out without prompting and claimed that he “[doesn’t] know why [he] got charged with anything.”

Judge Dyer then intervened, calmly telling Obermueller that he will know the charges soon as well as advising him to not speak out like that during the hearing or the proceedings will not be able to continue.

Subsequently, the judge told the defendant that he had been charged with three misdemeanors: vandalism, damage against vehicle, and battery against person.

After the charges had been read, Obermueller once again yelled out to question the battery charge to which Judge Dyer responded by warning him that “one of the … issues today is whether (the defendant) will be released from custody.”

Complying with the court’s orders is going to be a large factor in consideration and interrupting like that again will reflect badly on his position, which did calm Obermueller down.

Deputy District Attorney Johnson then asked if she and counsel could approach the bench because, apparently, a previous court had worked with the case before and she wanted to see if the preceding judge had left behind a memo.

After about two minutes, the defendant Obermueller started to get agitated again and asked loudly what they were “talking about over there.” Evidently a little worn out, Judge Dyer then told Obermueller to talk with his attorney – Deputy Public Defender Aram Davtyan – who asked the court to speak to Obermueller privately.

Judge Dyer gave permission and went on to hear other pending cases. About fifteen minutes later, Obermueller and his attorney returned.

PD Davtyan asked to release Obermueller on supervised own recognizance on the basis that defendant owns a residence and can provide the exact address, has roommates, can provide a phone number, and is willing to abide by the release terms.

District Attorney Johnson noted two of the charges had the same victim at the same address and said that she is willing to release the defendant on supervised own recognizance with the condition that he is to stay away from any contact with the victim and address.

Judge Dyer agreed with DDA Johnson and ruled Obermueller will be released from custody under supervised own recognizance with the condition that he complies with the stay-away order.

A pre-trial conference was then scheduled on July 20 at Yolo County Superior Court Dept. 8.


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About The Author

Luke Kyaw is an incoming third-year at UCLA majoring in Public Affairs. He immigrated from Myanmar in 2015 and currently resides in San Gabriel, California.

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