Judge Denies Pretrial Release of Defendant in Burglary Case for Public Safety Reasons

By Elizabeth Garabedian

SANTA BARBARA, CA – During an arraignment here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court last Thursday for Marcelo Alfonso-Gudino—who is facing burglary charges—Judge Clifford Anderson denied him pretrial release, citing another serious pending charge and a safety risk to the public.

Gudino was present in court via Zoom from the Santa Barbara County Jail, represented by Deputy Public Defender Dorsa Karric, who asked the court to address Gudino’s custody status. Karric requested Gudino be put on supervised release even though pretrial services did not recommend his release.

PD Karric argued that Gudino was a good candidate for pretrial release because he has no prior criminal record, noting, “He has no prior convictions… he does have one another arrest just a few days ago, but I don’t know if a filing decision has been made on that and I don’t know anything about that case… there is nothing to indicate that he has trouble with the law.”

After noting “the seriousness of the charges and the information from the alleged victim in the report,” Karric suggested that the defendant be released with a GPS tracker so that pretrial services can monitor him and make sure that Gudino is “far far away from the alleged victim and the alleged victim’s residence in this case.”

Deputy District Attorney Justin Greene concurred with pretrial services’ recommendation that Gudino should be kept in custody. DDA Greene stated the “reason being that the victim’s communication to pretrial services was that he was opposed to release and fearful that the defendant would return to his residence.”

DDA Greene noted that there were no references given by the defendant for pretrial services to contact about whether or not the defendant would “return on his own volition” or was a risk to the public.

“It appears that he has very limited ties to Santa Barbara, it looks like from what he told to pretrial services that he previously lived up in Oregon and has been traveling around California for 6 months,” so there is the risk that he might not return, DDA Greene said.

If the court were inclined to release Gudino, Greene asked that the court “make appropriate 1270.1 findings if the court wants to set bail at something other than schedule” since one of the charges was his first 459, felony burglary.

After hearing from both attorneys, Judge Clifford Anderson decided to keep Gudino in custody.

“Based on the information available I agree with probation’s assessment, he’s got a very serious pending charge. In this case he’s got another pending charge. He’s got no contacts with any references, he’s transient, not from California apparently. I think he’s a risk to both public safety and to return to court, so I am going to deny the request at this time,” he said.

Karric agreed to move onto arraignment and waived formal reading of rights, entered a plea of not guilty and asked that the case be assigned to a felony trial court.

As Judge Anderson was setting the next hearing date, Gudino spoke out and asked Judge Anderson if he knew what the other pending charges were. Karric acknowledged her client and offered to speak in private but informed Gudino that he was being brought up on a separate charge for stealing a car.

The next court date was set for Aug. 16, and PD Karric requested a supplemental from pretrial services to see if they could get references for Gudino.

Judge Anderson set bail at $100,000 and issued a protective order for the alleged victim, and explained to Gudino that he must stay 100 yards away and was not to have any contact with the alleged victim including over social media.

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