By Joshua Cenzano
SANTA BARBARA, CA – Judge Von Deroian presided over two separate matters in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court Friday, both involving misdemeanor counts regarding post-conviction agreements.
The first, Jake Thomas Kupfer, is a nursing student and world championship-bound triathlete who failed to participate in scheduled breath tests following his DUI (driving under the influence) conviction.
The second, James Mitchell Fausey, who was convicted outside Santa Barbara for an unspecified crime involving children, was in court for failure to register, as a sex offender, his part-time address with the county and for it being located in close proximity to Carpinteria Middle School.
Kupfer, represented by private defense attorney Bill Makler, allegedly failed to participate in scheduled breath tests on Oct. 6, Oct. 7, Oct. 16, and Oct. 20, leading Assistant District Attorney Sherwin Nadjm to ask the court for the implementation of a SCRAM bracelet to monitor Kupfer more closely.
Kupfer, under direct examination from his counsel, admitted to missing those scheduled tests and offered explanations for each, ranging from his engagements as a nursing student to training for triathlons.
Defense counsel Makler’s primary argument was that Kupfer is a triathlete competitive on the world stage and a SCRAM bracelet would significantly impede his ability to train, especially while swimming and running.
Judge Deroian found these arguments uncompelling, however, and ordered Kupfer to report for the implementation of a SCRAM bracelet by Oct. 27 in light of his noncompliance. He said he would revisit the issue in at least a month’s time.
“We must weigh the different burdens to you versus the community’s safety,” said Judge Deroian to Kupfer upon rejecting his motion.
A later proceeding involved Fausey, a man convicted of a crime involving children outside Santa Barbara, for a discrepancy in his registration of address with the city and county.
Although he duly registered his primary address in the city of Santa Barbara for six years, as noted by his attorney to the court, he also had resided with his mother in a residence within the outskirts of the county and failed to register that residence with the court.
ADA Nadjm’s appeal in this case highlighted the clearly laid out statute regarding registration of addresses, but Fausey’s defense rested on the claim that his failure to register was inadvertent and that under his understanding of the regulations he had been compliant by registering only his primary residence.
His secondary residence is by Carpinteria Middle School, however, and in light of this ADA Nadjm asked the court to impose the full penalty for violation as proscribed by law.
Judge Deroian was not entirely convinced, and she considered the possibility that Fausey’s failure to register was no more than a technical violation and did not involve a legitimate attempt to evade regulation.
The judge noted the relevant statutes are difficult for even attorneys to read and that Fausey should not necessarily be penalized over an esoteric technicality.
Fausey’s counsel was quick to alleviate the judge’s concerns and offered to prepare a declaration of Fausey’s intentions concerning his failure to register, affirming that it was indeed a technical oversight.
Judge Deroian held her ruling pending that declaration. The case will be revisited on Nov. 19 at 1:30 p.m.