Fresno Judge Encourages Defendant to Stay Busy, Avoid Further Trouble

By Ramneet Singh

FRESNO, CA – Fresno County Superior Court, Dept. 20 Judge David Gottlieb here Friday spent considerable court time seemingly trying to help defendant Jesus Beltran, and encouraging him to pursue social programs to avoid issues with law enforcement.

The court calendar had two felony charges and five misdemeanors alleged against the defendant, who was arrested for possession of an assault weapon and vandalism, among other charges since 2019.

Beltran was listed on the calendar for one pre-trial hearing, two pre-preliminary hearings, and four arraignments. Via remote location, Assistant Public Defender Jason Westerfeld represented Beltran and Deputy District Defense Attorney Sydney Ricks sat in as prosecutor.

After Gottlieb inquired about the case progress, Westerfeld presented the people’s offer. He stated that “…count one in case ending in 3808, count one in case ending in 2176…and then also count one in misdemeanor case…there’s one more misdemeanor 148 that the people want to plea on…”

Westerfeld indicated that Beltran wanted “one more continuance” to consider his options, adding, “Mr. Beltran just wants to be able to own firearms at some point in his life.”

Along with looking for social programs, Westerfeld noted “at the next court date, your honor, I expect that we’ll either resolve or set the matters for preliminary hearing.” He wanted to set the next court date out to Oct. 15 to be able to get the social program matters set.

Judge Gottlieb wanted to make sure measures were in place “…that are going to prevent him from causing these issues to the neighbors.” He also wanted to affirm the dates of the incidents and location, which is Sanger.

After the judge inquired about his residence, Beltran attempted to dispute the alleged charges and he was quickly cut off by Gottlieb and his attorney. Gottlieb stated “it’s not always good to be so defensive, just listen to the question that’s all. Take a deep breath.”

Regarding the proposed plan, Gottlieb stated “again, we need to find something to keep this young man busy and basically off the streets.” He stated that Sanger has “…community based organizations, especially for young people.” He later mentioned church and boxing programs.

Gottlieb asked Beltran’s present mother if she had looked into social programs, she said she had not. Beltran stated that his brother had attempted to help him, but had to postpone that for the time being.

Judge Gottlieb stated “…everyday, you should go online, every day you should search (for social programs).”

Directed at Beltran, Judge Gottlieb proclaimed “I want you to do something with your life…You know what they say: when you have idle time, when you don’t have anything to do, that’s how you get into trouble. People who are working all the time…involved in hobbies and things like that, they don’t have time to get into trouble.”

Affirming the requested court date, the judge reminded Beltran of the consequences of getting arrested between now and October. He said he wanted Beltran to be “productive.”

The judge and counsel confirmed the Oct. 15 court date.

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