By Annette Wong-Toi
SACRAMENTO, CA – It was business as usual here in Sacramento County Superior Court, Dept. 63 Tuesday, but became more eventful when a defendant requested to be heard by the court, and another case encountered issues with contacting the client’s probation officer.
Willie Pope was first—he was in court for a preliminary hearing regarding an alleged attempted murder.
The hearing, however, did not involve any details pertaining to the case. Instead, Pope’s attorney requested that this case be continued to October, which would require Pope to waive his right to a speedy preliminary hearing and trial.
Judge Joseph Orr allowed him to continue, but as Pope began to bring up one of his concerns about the discovery for this case, he was interrupted by his attorney who was appearing via Zoom. “Mr. Pope, listen man, you either waive time or not.”
Pope shot back, “Can I speak for myself, please? Please, can I speak for myself?”
The judge once again allowed him to speak, telling the attorney to “just let him talk.”
As Pope continued, the judge shared that there was “nothing [he] could do at this point,” but he would be able to continue the matter to October, which would hopefully allow for him to meet with his attorney again.
Bringing the conversation back to the original question, the judge noted “that’s under the understanding that you give up the right to a speedy [process]. Are you willing to do that?”
Agreeing to waive time to Oct. 27, Pope’s preliminary hearing will continue then. The court urged Pope’s attorney to be in contact with his client, who likely wanted the issues surrounding his discovery to be addressed.
As Judge Orr’s morning continued, he heard from a public defender that was having trouble getting in contact with his client’s probation officer (PO).
Nicholas Caspary—facing a violation of probation hearing, on five years’ probation after an auto theft conviction in February of 2020—appeared in court “to show proof that he checked into probation.” After checking in with his PO, he requested that his attorney “call her to confirm that he’s been checking in.”
Despite attempting to call and leaving a voice message, Assistant Public Defender David Anguiano said he did not hear back from her, adding, “But I do ensure that Mr. Caspary has been checking in.”
Even though he understood the difficult circumstances the public defender was faced with, the judge still expressed his confusion, stating, “Usually they give the defendant a card signed by the PO indicating that he showed up.”
PD Anguiano explained that apparently “the probation officer said that there [could] be personnel at the court that would be able to confirm that,” and that he was also surprised to hear that. Still, he called and was unable to hear back from the PO herself.
Perplexed, the judge wondered why they didn’t give him a card in this case, and was met with agreement from the public defender.
Addressing Caspary, the judge said he would accept his attorney’s word that he had been in contact with the PO that was unable to be reached, warning, “But you need to stay in close contact with that probation officer, do you understand?”