By Natalia Claburn
WOODLAND, CA – Deputy Public Defender Joseph Gocke filed a motion here last week in Yolo County Superior Court to dismiss the case of defendant Joshua Friedman, whose mental illness struggles resulted in his arrest back on Oct. 14, 2019.
Friedman’s arrest came after five separate charges which included four felonies—2nd degree robbery, threatening to commit a crime, false imprisonment of another person using violence, and killing or abusing animals—as well as a misdemeanor charge of committing battery.
The hearing began with Judge Timothy Fall inquiring about Gocke’s motion to dismiss when “there is some indication that the victim had been hurt again after the first of this year and I don’t see how that was addressed through treatment or a treatment plan.”
Gocke responded by saying that the doctor who had been treating Friedman—but who is no longer working with him after this hearing—explained that “Mr. Friedman has been in compliance” with the treatment he was required to receive.
The attorney continued, stating that “there are no charges stemming from [the most recent alleged crime].” Therefore, Gocke believed that, based on the doctor’s findings and because there were no charges against Friedman for the latest allegation of violence toward the victim, Friedman was not a threat to the public.
However, the prosecutor disagreed, arguing that the alleged violence “certainly doesn’t need to be charged let alone convicted for the court to find that more treatment is necessary.”
Furthermore, no one in the courtroom knew if the doctor who had treated Friedman was aware of this new information and allegation of violence which may have changed the doctor’s professional opinion in regard to whether Friedman’s case should be dismissed.
The prosecutor continued, reminding Gocke and Judge Fall that the new allegation made “is credible, and if someone wants to dispute that, that’s fine. But there is a report of violence from the victim and there are reports from neighbors about disturbances” at Friedman’s residence.
Considering all of the information involved in this case, the prosecutor made it clear that he was against dismissing Friedman’s case. If the treatment Friedman had received was not enough to prevent this alleged crime from occurring, it did not ensure that he would not break the law again.
The prosecutor reminded the court that dealing with mentally ill individuals is “not just ‘somebody came up with a treatment plan and that person says he completed it’…It’s a treatment plan that addresses the issues and I just don’t know if his [doctor] even knows of these allegations.”
Gocke’s request to dismiss Friedman’s case was denied, with another court date set on Sept. 24, to evaluate Friedman’s progress. Friedman is required to “show that he has engaged in treatment in the eight week time period” until his next hearing.
If he fails to do so, an unspecified but seemingly important deal that was made between the prosecution and the defense attorneys will be revoked “for lack of interest on the defense side” and Friedman’s case will remain open.