By Casey Rawlings
SANTA BARBARA, CA – Kirsten Perotte—the daughter of Paula Perotte, the current Mayor of Goleta—appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court last Thursday for a bail review hearing to decide whether or not she would be released from custody while awaiting trial.
Perotte was arrested Aug. 2 after being charged with multiple felonies and one misdemeanor during an alleged violent assault on her ex-boyfriend and his new partner. Among her charges include robbery, burglary, stalking, vandalism, battery, and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse.
Perotte was charged with felony assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury (GBI) three times. As defined by the California statute, GBI is constituted by “a significant or a substantial injury (e.g., a broken bone, a jaw fracture, and/or gunshot wounds).”
Perotte pleaded not guilty to all of her charges.
Before the hearing could begin, Perotte’s Public Defender Jenny Andrews was released upon declaring conflict due to the public defender’s office’s affiliation with Mayor Paula Perotte.
Due to this conflict, Perotte was assigned a new attorney, Robert Alan Dahlstedt.
Dahlstedt advocated on behalf of Perotte’s eligibility for pretrial release, referencing her inappreciable conviction history and supportive family resources. He mentioned that her prior convictions mostly include minor vehicle infractions and that her family is happy to house her if she is released.
Dahlstedt noted the lack of threat Perotte posed to the victims, due to the absence of a restraining order and victim statements. He stated that “the victim, her ex-boyfriend, doesn’t oppose her release…he just wants her to stay away.”
Dahlstedt continued to describe Perotte’s dedication to compliance, describing “she has no problem with staying away. We went over the rules and she said she will stay at her father’s house and cause nobody any problems.”
Deputy District Attorney Megan Chanda disagreed with Dahlstedt’s claims, stating that the People are opposed to pretrial supervised release.
She added that “the defendant had been told to stop contacting the alleged victims multiple, multiple times—that did not seem to deter her in any way. She will consistently go to the male victims’ home—in this particular case, barged right into the home and immediately attacked his new girlfriend.”
DDA Chanda also referenced potential mental health concerns relevant to Perotte’s release, explaining “the defendant has insisted that she is pregnant with the male victim’s child which is not the case.” Chanda expounded that Perotte’s mental health issues may interfere with her ability to comply with court orders.
Chanda also stated that there could be a drug or substance abuse issue that is exacerbating Perotte’s emotional wellness. She concluded by stating that the pretrial services report was thorough and requested the court to follow said recommendation.
Judge Von Deroian commended Perotte’s minimal record, but expressed concerns about the defendant’s mental health and/or substance abuse issues.
She specified, “I’m not foreclosing pretrial release at some point, but I want a plan in place. She is getting evaluated for a residential rehab program…but releasing her back home without any plan in place is setting her up to fail.”
The judge also referenced her concerns for the safety of both alleged victims, recounting the severity of the case. The judge noted that “she entered a residence and allegedly assaulted two victims… the attack was significant, serious, and dangerous.”
Judge Deroian concluded the hearing by setting the last day of the preliminary hearing as Sept. 16. Until then, she specified, the defendant’s bail remains the same, at $500,000.