‘Accountability Huge’ – Judge Discusses Likelihood of Defendant’s Return to Court if Released Pretrial


By Zoey Hou

WOODLAND, CA – In an arraignment hearing for defendant Dana Richelle Croft, Judge Tom Dyer, probation and lawyers weighed the appropriate motion for the defendant, who may or may not return to court as ordered.

In Yolo County Superior Court Department 1, Judge Dyer began Croft’s case by asserting, “The District Attorney of Yolo county has alleged on Aug. 2 of this year, you committed a felony vehicle theft.”

Deputy District Attorney Robin Johnson had concerns that the defendant was not tied to the Yolo community, but was also recently released from a holding charge.

She argued, “I’m probably in a different position than the court because I’ve actually read the report in this case. But based on what the People have seen, we believe it is highly unlikely that [Croft] will show up to court again.”

She felt that, based on the defendant’s previous crime and her behavior during the arrest procedure, Croft would not make an appearance for court a second time.

Deputy Public Defender John Sage explained that “it appears there has been limited criminal activity and the record is from 17 years ago. My coworker from my office is a professional when it comes to dealing with people who may have mental issues. He asked that the case be assigned to him upon our office accepting appointment.”

Sage claimed that his team and social workers would work to benefit the counsel and the case. He asked “the court to allow Croft to be released on OR (own recognizance, no bail) so that we can start the process of moving this case along towards completion.”

In response, Judge Dyer asked a question to a probation officer present at Croft’s hearing; he wondered if probation would need to be in charge of contacting the defendant and how the court would go about the issue of a possible med-noncompliance.

Medical noncompliance, which is the deliberate or intentional refusal by the patient to receive medication, would be the larger issue to tackle if the court wants Croft to be released on OR.

Dyer also felt that if he were to allow Croft to be released on OR, the court would risk charging her with a failure to appear (FTA).

Probation added to the judge’s concern that the conditions for an OR release would mean that the defendant would have to make visits to the office. But Croft’s lack of transportation would make it even harder for her to meet her end of the deal. And they argued that she clearly needed services outside of Yolo County and more help from her community of Arden County, North Carolina.

She claimed, “Accountability is huge in probation in that we could determine that she seems fairly compliant when we’re there, but when we leave she isn’t taking her medication.”

After the back and forth among the DDA, the judge, and the probation officer, Judge Dyer ruled, “Here’s what the court is going to do. I will release her on OR and it may be an SOR (Supervised Own Recognizance).

“I’m also going to order that you are medication compliant and I understand probation is recommending OR but I think it will have to be supervised OR. What the court’s looking for is at a minimum, some phone contact. There’s a concern out there that you may not appear even though your history isn’t indicative of that.”

Dana Croft affirmed that she understood Judge Dyer’s motion, and a preliminary hearing was set approximately four weeks out on Sept. 3.


About The Author

Zoey Hou is a bay area native pursuing English and International Relations at UC Davis. She strongly advocates for criminal justice transparency and institutional change.

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