By Tatiana Gasca
ALAMEDA, CA — Alameda County Superior Court Judge Sharon Djemal expressed frustration as a defendant here this week conveyed conflicting statements that caused confusion to the court and proceedings involving his alleged violation of probation.
As Judge Djemal began implementing a new probation order and hearing date, the defendant struggled to accept the new proposal. The defendant has not seen his daughter for over a year and half, and with his new probation order, it extends that period of time.
“He wants to withdraw from the case and move on with his life. He just wants to see his daughter,” expressed defense attorney Dionne Choyce.
The defendant was charged with a misdemeanor for violating his existing probation. He was ordered to attend domestic violence counseling and fulfill 40 hours of community service. But, since then, the defendant has not communicated with his lawyer.
It was also found that the defendant did not uphold his end of the bargain, as he picked up his daughter from school on a day he was not legally permitted to do so, based on his probation order. Though there wasn’t any specification as to when this incident occurred, the DDA revealed:
“He picked her up and didn’t tell anyone. Turned off his phone, switched cell phone providers that day, and the UC Berkeley Police Department essentially was on a chase to find this little girl,” said the DDA.
The DDA went further to assert that the defendant not only violated his probation, but essentially kidnapped his own daughter, adding, “I think it was more than just miscommunication. I think it was planned,” charged the DDA.
However, defense attorney Choyce fired back stating, “I personally feel that the initial allegations were really not a violation at all. Essentially, he had his daughter over the weekend. I believe, and would return her back at school.”
The DDA clarified that the defendant did not drop his daughter off the following day. Instead, the defendant’s father confirmed that he dropped her off at school.
“The whole point of my order is to fix what is going on with his family in the minimal way I could,” Judge Djemal replied.
As the judge began setting a new hearing date and arranging a new probation order, defense attorney Choyce added, “[the defendant] just indicated to me that his previous attorney informed him of the incorrect day for pick up, and that he feels that he technically is not in violation.”
Defense attorney Choyce continued, “He is now telling me that he wants to have a hearing and he wants to represent himself. My request is to set a hearing, he wants to do it in person, and [for me] to withdraw as counsel.”
It was apparent that the defendant did not comprehend what Judge Djemal meant because she stated that he had a right to a probation violation hearing. With growing frustration, Judge Djemal did not move forward with the set hearings, as he retracted his previous statements.
“I apologize your Honor, it’s my fault. I need to get this resolved. I cannot allow this for myself or for my family,” says the defendant.
“You admit that you have violated your probation?” asks Judge Djemal.
“Yes,” responded the defendant.
Upon hearing the defendant’s final statements, the judge finally had enough of the defendant and stated with aggravation, “This is statutory required… This is not a joke. You have a jury trial. This is what the statute requires.”
The defendant initial 60 days of county jail were suspended. However, his new probation order consists of fulfilling 40 hours of community service, enrolling in 52 classes of domestic violence counseling, and providing a progress report of interactions with his family.
He is set for a new hearing date on Aug. 12.