Judge Quips She is Not a Babysitter, Refuses to Continue Probation for Defendant after Ninth Probation Violation

By Angie Madrid

VENTURA, CA – Ventura County Superior Court Judge Julia Snyder Tuesday was frustrated, and when faced with a defendant who violated his probation nine times, quipped, “I am not in the babysitting business.”

Defendant Anthony Lee Jennell was arraignment on his alleged violations of probation, which was set to end three months after his DUI conviction. But then he encountered Judge Snyder who denied a probation extension.

He later was sentenced to spend 30 days in county jail.

Prior to this decision, Defense Attorney Lawrence Gund provided proof of Jennell’s participation in Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and his enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program in Ventura County—and then requested a continuance of his probation.

Gund emphasized Jennell’s efforts to revise his drug abuse problem, noting, “He is turning this around.”

The judge, after considering Gund’s statement, explained, “Probation is an act of clemency by the court, given to those the court believe are worthy of that pact and can demonstrate ability to rehabilitate. This is not what I see here, at all. At some point, it is a little too late. We have a lot of cases here; I am not in the babysitting business. I really am not.”

Judge Snyder emphasized she, sometimes, has more than 120 criminal cases and has no interest in adding this case into her docket.

Gund interjected, explaining, “Mr. Jennell is responsible both financially and as a caretaker for his 80-year-old mother who is in the back of the courtroom.”

As Snyder pondered Jennell’s circumstances, Gund continued, “Contrary, to what your honor has mentioned, he is taking action. I realize this a drug abuse problem. It is rare, if ever, that someone runs a straight line from having a drug problem to being clean and sober. It just doesn’t work that way.

“There are always stops and starts, bumps in the road, turns that they take. It is a difficult problem to be in. Still many people beat it. Mr. Jennell is diligently working on that, and I would suppose to a degree, I am in the babysitting business,” he argued.

Gund reassured Judge Snyder he is there to provide Jennell with guidance and Jennell has no history of violent crime nor intentionally trying to cause harm on others.

Judge Snyder interjected, highlighting, “He has a DUI, what about the other people on the road?”

Gund countered, “Jail hanging over his head, certainly at this point, is actually a far more effective deterrent than sending him to jail where he very well may lose his job, and I don’t know, quite honestly, what his mother will do if that happens.”

The judge said, “I truly want people to succeed in this courtroom, but at some point, it’s just, you have to make the determination. Nine violations of probation for the exact same thing. It’s not working.”

Gund, seemingly frustrated, tried to change the judge’s mind one last time, stating, “Okay, but here’s the proof that he’s changed. If he backslides, put him in jail. We don’t have to have an argument.”

Judge Snyder believed allowing Jennell to continue his probation would only continue the same pattern of violations and “babysitting” conducted by the court.

Defendant Jennell’s probation was ended by the judge and he was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

About The Author

Angie Madrid is a fourth year at UCLA, pursuing a degree in Political Science with a minor in Public Affairs. She is from Los Angeles, CA and would like to pursue law in the future.

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