COVID-19 Causes Further Delay in Weapon and Battery Competence Case

By Simran Chahal 

 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento County Superior Court Wednesday was scheduled to hear whether Jameel Deloney has or has not been restored to competency through the examination of psychological testing and reports. 

 

However, this was delayed because the defendant refused to undergo COVID-19 testing.

 

In 2018, the defendant was charged with battery and possession of a weapon while in custody. Since March of this year, the case has experienced multiple continuances and now encountered a delay in expert testimony.

 

Judge Delbert W. Oros started by addressing the absence of the defendant by stating that “he is not present courtroom” but “he is actually present in the courthouse.” 

 

The court was advised that the defendant refused to follow the COVID testing procedures and was experiencing a symptom associated with COVID-19. Due to his uncertain status, it was in the best interest of everyone’s safety to not bring him into the courtroom.

 

Deloney is currently in custody at the California State Prison, Sacramento where there have been a total of 308 confirmed COVID cases but only one confirmed COVID case within the last 14 days.

 

The judge stated the court would have been tasked with determining whether the defendant had been restored to competency, “so his appearance was necessary.” 

 

Psychiatric and mental health experts were called in as witnesses to provide their expertise on the issue but were released early because of the issue at hand.

 

Judge Oros also noted that Assistant Public Defender Ryan Jay has not had the chance to have a face-to-face conversation with the defendant leading to “some uncertainty as to the strategy of presenting the defense case in this matter.” 

 

Judge Oros specified that there is a need for face-to-face conservation between the defendant and the attorney, but noted “obviously, that’s problematic in these days of COVID.” 

 

The next court date, Nov. 5, was selected to allow Jay to meet with the defendant well in advance of the date to address his interests. The hearing will be conducted virtually to allow for the defendant’s participation in the evidentiary portion of the case.

 

About The Author

Simran is a senior at UC Davis, majoring in Political Science. She is originally from Ceres, CA.

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