Man in Carjacking Case Claims Threatened by Public Defender, Decides to Represent Himself

By Angela Patel

VENTURA, CA – A man in a stolen vehicle case from May of this year has chosen to represent himself, citing what he called a “threat” from a public defender during a Zoom conference in June.

He was never specific to the court about the nature of the “threat.”

Dustin Ryan Wilson appeared in court last week before Judge Patricia M. Murphy in Ventura County Superior Court Dept. 13 for a pre-trial conference.

Wilson seemed frustrated and confused with the realities of acting as his own attorney, especially while he is currently in custody at the Todd Road Jail in Ventura County.

After a long sigh to start off his statement, the defendant noted that he hadn’t yet received the Zoom videos and court docket information that he needed.

Apparently, Wilson believed that he could obtain video recordings of the Zoom conferences that he had with his original public defender.

Judge Murphy repeated multiple times that no such video recordings existed, and that Wilson would have to request official court transcripts in order to obtain proof of any threats that occurred on the record.

Nevertheless, the defendant continued, claiming, “There’s other gentlemen that are here [in the jail] that have actually stated that the videos were available and are still available publicly if you were willing to pay. My problem is, in here, I’m kind of confined and I don’t have the ability to reach out to the outside like I would like to.”

Judge Murphy agreed to send Wilson all of the court dockets from the previous hearings, but she was done talking about the transcripts.

“I’m not going to grant a transcript request without good cause.” she asserted. Judge Murphy then decided to let Wilson’s case pass for a while to take care of some other cases, and told him she’d be back to him in a minute.

Wilson interrupted, asking ,“Is jeopardy not enough cause, your honor?”

The judge responded, “No, it’s not enough cause. You gotta explain yourself a little further.” The judge then continued to handle other cases for around 10 minutes.

When Judge Murphy returned to defendant Wilson’s case, Wilson said that the threat had occurred during his first meeting with the public defender on June 11, but did not provide details about what exactly happened. That same day, he said, he filed a waiver to give up his right to counsel.

Wilson also wanted to file a Marsden motion, but Judge Murphy stopped him, saying he didn’t have an attorney to fire and that he was currently representing himself.

“I’ve been working around a lot of things,” the Wilson replied, sounding upset, “and I’m making sure I have the right ingredients.”

Wilson repeatedly stated that he was annoyed with having to work on this case while in custody.

After Deputy District Attorney Rameen Minoui asked Wilson to place a specific request for certain surveillance videos and body cam footage in writing and file it as a motion to their office, the defendant expressed yet again that he was “limited” in his current situation.

“Speaking things into existence at this point has almost become necessary,” he told prosecutor Minoui.

“I’d be better prepared from the outside,” he continued, growing increasingly flustered. “If I can’t file… everything’s being returned to me and it’s not reaching you. So if I were to file a subpoena or something like that, the integrity that the… the middleman person… it’s not working out for me.”

Judge Murphy scheduled the defendant for a pretrial risk assessment on July 26. However, due to Wilson’s prior felony convictions, including two stolen vehicle cases, Judge Murphy was not convinced that the defendant would be released on his own recognizance.

About The Author

Angela is a rising third year at UCLA majoring in Sociology and English. She is originally from the Bay Area and loves to read and write.

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