By Carson Eschen
SANTA BARBARA, CA – Here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, a woman requested that a court’s protective order instituted on her behalf not be expanded, commenting, “I really need his help.”
The defendant, Luis Miguel Alcaraz, was charged with a violation of a protective order taken out by the victim in 2017 after he pled no contest to inflicting corporal injury on his cohabitant. The protective order did not prohibit contact, only ordering Alcaraz to not molest, harm, harass, or annoy the victim.
In 2019, Alcaraz was charged with and pleaded no contest to one count of willful cruelty to a child. He also faced a charge of violating the protective order, though it was dropped in the plea agreement.
Alcaraz was charged once again in May of this year, this time only for violating the protective order.
In response, the prosecution recommended that the protective order be expanded to prohibit contact entirely. The presiding Judge Thomas Adams, however, asked if the victim had anything she wanted to say in court.
The victim approached the stand and described the difficulties she was facing at home as a working mother of five. She stated that, given health concerns and her busy schedule, Alcaraz provided valuable support for her and their children, by working two jobs and providing childcare while she was working.
She concluded her statement saying, “I really need his help.”
Violating the protective order can carry a punishment of a fine up to $1,000 and up to one year in prison. Judge Adams maintained the previous protective order, per the victim’s request, and refrained from sentencing Alcaraz to any jail time.
However, the judge followed his decision with a warning. He said he “hated to interrupt” Alcaraz’s efforts to work two jobs and support his family, but he promised in no uncertain terms that, next time, he would.