By Joseph Shepard
SANTA BARBARA, CA – Despite a recommendation from pretrial services, a defendant was denied pretrial release this week in Santa Barbara Superior Court’s Dept. 8 when the judge overruled the recommendation of Pretrial Services, a rare occurrence.
The defendant—whose name was unavailable on the court recording—is charged with a felony for conspiring to commit a crime, and two misdemeanors, one for obstructing or resisting a public peace officer and another for providing false identification to a peace officer.
Public Defender Dorsa Karric requested that the defendant be granted release, citing the fact that he indicated to her that he would comply with probation’s terms and that he had family to stay with while out of custody.
Greene then spoke about the defendant’s failure to appear in court for previous cases, saying “his criminal history indicates he has numerous failures to appear in violation of probation.”
Greene also noted a specific incident in February of 2019 where, after a domestic violence case in which the defendant was granted probation and released from custody, he “did not report to probation.” Then, after being charged for a violation of probation, he failed to appear in court.
Finally, the DDA provided a statement from the defendant’s sole character reference, who indicated that they “do not believe that [the defendant] will reliably appear in court or abide by any release conditions.”
Concluding his argument, Greene said: “Based upon all those reasons I just don’t think that there is any chance that [the defendant] is actually going to show up in court.”
Judge Clifford Anderson asked to hear from Deputy Probation Officer Lesli Stamm, who said that, although she understood Greene’s point, based on the risk assessment score of 10, “[the defendant] is a suitable candidate for pretrial release.”
Judge Anderson questioned the recommendation based on the seemingly high score, but Stamm stood by it, claiming “although it’s an elevated risk for failure to appear it is within the range for suitability for pretrial release.”
Despite this, Judge Anderson denied the request to release the defendant, referring to the defendant who “as near as I can tell from his prior record has never appeared in court when he was supposed to, at least initially.”
The judge said the defendant is at “extreme risk” for not appearing, and that, because he has committed crimes while not appearing in court he is a “risk to the public as well.”