Sentencing Delayed: COVID-19 Continues to Place Strain on Courts

By Simran Chahal

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court was set for a final sentencing hearing for Marc Haydenbrewer Monday, but it was delayed after Haydenbrewer was unable to accept and review the necessary documents because COVID-19 protocols continue the interfere with defense lawyers meeting with their clients.

In June of this year, a case was filed against Haydenbrewer for charges of grand theft, and he is currently in custody at Yolo County Jail.

Judge David W. Reed announced to the court that Haydenbrewer pleaded no contest on charges of grand theft and agreed to a 16-month county prison sentence. The prohibition department prepared the prohibited person relinquishment form that Haydenbrewer needed to complete.

Judge Reed asked, “does anybody have any thoughts about how we can accomplish that with the restrictions that are in place at the jail?”

Deputy Public Defender J. Sage stated that he would be willing to go to the jail to provide his client with the forms, but stated that prohibition would have better access to have the defendant sign the form.

The judge continued as he asked the courtroom, “does anybody have personal access with the inmates other than the employees themselves?”

PD Sage simply answers, “there has been an outbreak at the jail…and we have had difficulties meeting with our client out there.”

Since early September, Yolo County Sheriff’s Office stated that Yolo County jail identified 15 positive cases of COVID-19 among the inmate population, causing calls for stricter protocols, including additional testing of potentially exposed individuals.

The bailiff added that the documents can be passed along at the jail to the clients in order to get them signed.

With this information, the PD agreed to go to the jail to get the documents to Haydenbrewer and the judge moved along to agree with the plea agreement. The public defender, Sage, and prosecutor Emilie Johnson, stated on further comments and submitted on the report.

However, when the judge later asked the defendant “[if he] received a copy of the proposed mandatory supervision order,” he simply stated that he did not receive any documents via the prison jail.

So, the court was thwarted again by COVID restrictions.

PD Sage added that the probation officer recommended that he be released today and the defendant even chimed in to state “I want to get out today.”

After contemplation, Judge Reed ordered Haydenbrewer to be released on his own recognizance until sentencing.

About The Author

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

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