By Paulina Buelna and Dayana Esquivel
SANTA BARBARA, CA – After childcare stifled opportunities for a man to report, Judge Anderson of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court granted Ivan Perez another chance to redeem his missing jail time through “SWAP,” the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program.
Perez, who appeared in court on a warrant arraignment, was charged with three different misdemeanors and failed to serve time for all three cases. His attorney, Allen Bifano, pleaded with the judge to give Perez another chance to complete the missing time.
Attorney Bifano argued that his client had violated his agreements with the court due to childcare obligations, but Perez’s lack of communication with the court left Deputy District Attorney Justin Greene unsympathetic.
DDA Greene argued that the defendant was given the opportunity to complete the missing time and failed to do so once again.
He said “hearing from Mr. Bifano, the latest excuse was child care, it doesn’t sound like if the court gives him another flee mandate that his situation is going to change, he’s going to have that same issue and likely not report.”
DDA Greene said Perez was given a referral to SWAP in mid-February and once again in mid-May. and he still fell short of his promise of completing his time. With that conclusion, the District Attorney’s office requested a remand forthwith.
In response to DA Greene, defense counsel Bifano attempted to get Judge Anderson to sympathize with his client and his obligations as a father.
He assured the judge that although the defendant has failed in the past because he has his young son, his responsibilities as a parent will lead him to complete his program and pay his dues.
Perez joined in and explained that he cares for his young son while his significant other works and it was his fault for not being attentive with his time management. He said he tried going to jail but they would not take him.
Despite DDA Greene’s objections, Judge Anderson granted Perez his last chance to complete his requirements.
Judge Anderson gave the defendant and his defense attorney one last warning by saying “if you don’t take care of this matter and don’t sign up for SWAP, if you forget, or don’t return their phone calls, if the dog eats your homework, you better just go to jail and turn yourself in because if you come back here the 30 will have a 1 in front of it, the 60 will have a 1 in front of it and you won’t be walking out of here.”
Perez was free to go with his last opportunity to complete his time and keep his promise to the judge.