Judge Allows Homeless Defendants to Move Out of State While Waiting for Trial

By Dario McCarty

WOODLAND, CA — Two homeless defendants requested here in Yolo County Superior Court to be released from supervised own recognizance release in order that they may move out of state—their requests were granted, but with a laundry list of additional stipulations that they must follow.

The first of the accused was charged with two felonies, assault with a firearm and discharging a firearm. He was scheduled in court for a pre-hearing conference. 

After brief proceedings in which the accused’s defense attorney asked for the accused’s preliminary hearing to be postponed due to scheduling conflicts, the defense attorney petitioned Judge David W. Reed to allow the accused to be let off of supervised own recognizance release in order that he may move to a different state.

The attorney started by noting that the accused had been on supervised OR for quite some time now, and he had not yet missed any court dates or meetings with his supervisors. He added the reason for the move was so he could both secure housing and move closer to his daughter.

“He’s been looking for housing, and the housing that he has been able to find is in Washington State,” said the defense attorney, “And he was hoping to be able to get that housing, if possible … he also has a daughter there that he wants to be near.”

After consulting with the DA and probation officer present in court, Jazmine Gonzalez, Judge Reed decided to grant this request, but with the added caveat of certain conditions being appended to that release. 

The conditions included obeying all laws, being subject to search and seizure without a warrant, not possessing any firearms, not possessing or consuming any drugs or prescription drugs, not possessing or consuming any alcohol, not being in or about places where alcohol is an item for sale, not being in Sacramento or West Sacramento, and, if arrested outside of California, waiving extradition rights. 

Despite this long list of stipulations, the accused still remained grateful. “Thank you for caring about my wellbeing,” he told Judge Reed.

The second defendant stood accused of a felony charge of corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, and a separate felony charge of evasion of a peace officer. 

At this hearing, her defense attorney, Hendrick Crowell, requested that she be downgraded from supervised OR to straight OR so that she may move to Arizona.

Crowell explained that the accused was homeless in Sacramento with no income or support, but that her mother in Arizona had stepped up and volunteered to allow her to stay with her and support her while they tried to engage her with mental health services. 

However, Deputy District Attorney Alex Kian vehemently opposed this action, noting that the accused had a prior conviction and had a felony evasion charge. “We don’t know what the final outcome of the case will be, so to have her go out of state while we have a jury trial in October is not appropriate.”

Crowell replied that the accused had received a mental health discharge from a separate case in Santa Clara County, and that they were working on getting her into mental health court for Yolo County as well. 

Further, Crowell asserted that if they were not able to reach a mental health solution for the case, the accused could appear via Zoom or he could appear for her on a 977 waiver. 

“I think based on her mental state, she needs to be with her family. And if her family is going to support her and help her get mental health services, that’s better than her living on the street while we wait for court here,” said Crowell. 

Nonetheless, Kian persisted in his position. “I understand she’s dealing with mental health services… but to have her go out [to Arizona] without reliable means to get her back out here is not in support of judicial efficiency,” said Kian. 

Ultimately, Judge Reed decided it was better to grant this request rather than have the accused live on the street awaiting court. However, Reed still appended the same laundry list of stipulations that was given to the prior defendant; no alcohol, no attending locales where alcohol is sold, search and seizure without a warrant, and so on. 

About The Author

Dario is a rising junior at UC Berkeley studying Political Economy and English who is passionate about criminal justice reform.

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