By Alexa Kendell
VENTURA, CA – At a hearing here in Ventura County Superior Court late last week, defendant Anthony Michael Shyer, a man with multiple drug offenses, numerous failures to appear in court, and a domestic violence charge, was granted the opportunity to avoid jail time to organize his attendance at a drug treatment facility.
Shyer was brought to court after allegedly giving false information to a police officer, which is considered a misdemeanor in California.
The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Jaclyn Sheehan, began by stating that she agrees with probation’s recommendation of a one-year prison sentence for Shyer.
This recommendation considers the numerous times in which the defendant failed to appear in court and his other past convictions including battery, giving false information to a police officer, disobeying a domestic relations court order, and two past arrests/citations for drug use.
Ventura County Public Defender Tiffany Stone argued Shyer has a serious substance abuse issue that has caused many of his failures to appear in court. She also stated that Shyer has already begun looking for a substance abuse treatment center that he plans to begin attending.
“These violations are not the type of conduct that can cause an alarm from a public safety standpoint, but it is clear that he has a substance abuse issue,” argued Stone.
The defense then suggested that Shyer be allowed to continue to be out of custody in order to get treatment for substance abuse issues, rather than serve the jail time that was recommended by the prosecution.
Judge Rocky J. Baoi proceeded by discussing the previous charges against Shyer.
One of these charges included a domestic violence charge in which he “went through the window of the house for a cigarette … began to argue [with his wife], went into the house, began suddenly yanking on her hair [and] grabbing her neck,” Judge Baoi explained.
DDA Sheehan argued that Judge Baio’s recalling of the events surrounding the domestic violence charge only include the named victim, “but there is a child victim who’s not named who witnessed this. The eight-year-old told law enforcement, ‘I saw my Dad hit my Mommy,’” Sheehan attested.
With the judge questioning whether the child involved is considered a victim, DDA Sheehan quickly began to reference the California Constitution and the passage of Proposition 9.
“After the passage of Prop 9 under the CA constitution, a victim is defined as any person who suffers direct or threatened physical or psychological or financial harm as a result of commission or attempted commission of a crime,” the prosecutor said.
PD Stone replied that although Sheehan may be correct, “this wasn’t charged with the minor victim and I don’t think there has been any sort of findings about the harm caused or any of the allegations she just mentioned.”
She continued by arguing that the court can consider there was a child present at the time, but to also consider the shared child of the victim and the defendant.
Stone then returned to her original argument, stating that she believes “it would be in everybody’s best interest to have him remain on probation, get the drug treatment he needs, and hopefully do all of the DV classes.”
Before the judge was able to make his final decision, DDA Sheehan continued to argue that his current probation resulted in his being contacted by law enforcement for another offense only a few days after.
Stone used this argument to then argue for Shyer that “clearly drug use is the issue. That is the issue we are trying to resolve. In order to get into that program, I am informed and believed that he needs to have his Medi-Cal reinstated, which to my understanding is not possible if you’re in custody.
“My hope is that [continuing probation] will allow him to be in that program and begin getting the things that will actually help him and his family,” the PD argued.
Judge Baoi ultimately decided that Shyer was to remain on probation, as well as requiring for him to post another bond. However, he would be subject to report to probation and tests the same day.
Shyer is scheduled to return to court the morning of July 16 for updates on his progress with his medical insurance and attending a treatment facility for his substance abuse, as PD Stone suggested.