Defense Counsel Backs Man’s Attempt to Do Right on Probation, Despite Failures; Judge Gives Him One More Chance

By John Arceno

VENTURA, CA — Jefferson Michael Wilkerson’s defense counsel noted that he maybe didn’t “check” all the boxes while on probation, but he’s trying—and the Ventura County Superior Court was willing to give him another chance Wednesday.

Wilkerson has pleaded to battery as well as commercial burglary, a misdemeanor and felony respectively, and is back in court to review his jail time, and probation.

Public Defender Andrea Neumann leveraged his alleged good standing while in jail to persuade Judge Patricia Murphy to not prolong the defendant’s current sentence.

The PD said that the defendant has attempted to do community service as is required of him, but his attempts were rendered futile as he wasn’t supervised by an authority figure. She further added that he has since then found an organization to oversee his hours and will continue to do them.

“He’s prepared to do the hours,” counsel alleged.

She also said that the defendant hasn’t enrolled in a required domestic violence course because “he’s not able to afford the $42 for the classes.”

But she remained steadfastly in support of Wilkerson, stating that he’s doing everything he can to meet the requirements of his sentence and has even applied at McDonald’s in Westlake Village per the request of his probation officer. 

“He is working on his sobriety, and working on what probation wants him to do,” she said. “It seems like at this point, he’s kind of on an (upward) trajectory, and trying to get employed to do the classes and so forth.”

The defense counsel acknowledged that, while the defendant hasn’t done everything that is needed to comply with the conditions of his sentencing, she firmly contends that “he’s making the effort.”

The prosecution, however, did not sympathize with the defendant’s alleged “excuses.”

“He hasn’t been in contact with probation,” he said. “He hasn’t recorded, he hasn’t tested, he hasn’t done any of his classes, much of anything, and comes to court…in the eleventh hour trying to save himself.” 

He also added that the defendant has violated his probation multiple times.

“This is his third violation of probation for (his misdemeanor),” he elaborated. “It is (also) his second violation of probation (for his felony charge).”

Analyzing the points made by both sides, the judge admitted that the defense’s arguments lose credibility upon hearing the opposition’s rebuttals. But Judge Murphy still struck the allegations concerning the factuality of the defendant’s alleged failure to do a “test.” 

However, in doing that, the defendant would have to admit to the other allegations put on him against probation. When asked if he admits such allegations were true, the defendant responded, “Yes, your Honor.”

The judge said that with regard to the felony case, she will “impose the terms of 75 days in the county jail, which will be stayed pending further review and successful compliance on probation” against the defendant.

Afterwards, the judge said she will point the defendant to financial resources that will help him take the domestic violence course as needed.

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