By Samuel Van Blaricom
SACRAMENTO, CA – A family disturbance case involving Jesse Flores was put on hold by Judge Allison Lewis during a preliminary hearing Monday in Sacramento County Superior Court to evaluate Flores for potential qualification for a diversion program because of a cognitive disability.
Under the new code put into effect on Jan. 1 of this year, a misdemeanor charge could be dismissed and erased if the defendant complies with all stipulations that are a part of their program. In seeking this alternative, the defendant waives their right to a speedy trial as the court ascertains the degree of disability.
Flores is charged at a misdemeanor level with breaking into his sister’s home and threatening a resident with a knife and sledgehammer. He lived in a shed on her property at the time.
According to a statement provided by Officer Amber Hickey, Flores claims that he broke into the home with a hammer and screwdriver out of concern for a resident he saw sleeping on the couch. He approached and shook the man to make sure he was conscious.
Officer Raul Becerra’s statement from the victim colors the situation differently. He claims that Flores broke through the door with a sledgehammer and grabbed a knife, shouting threats at him as soon as he entered. He placed the knife on his neck, and then backed away.
However, the case may end up being dismissed altogether if Flores is found to be eligible for a diversion program because of a cognitive disability.
“Because his parents were first generation [immigrants] from Mexico, they had some difficulties navigating the school system and therefore Mr. Flores fell through the cracks,” said Flores’ defense counsel, referring to statements made by the defendant’s sister. “She believed that he was in special education classes for the limited time that he was in school.”
The next court date is Nov. 5 to review materials presented by the defense counsel, Deputy District Attorney Chelsea Givens, and the regional office that determines Flores’ eligibility.