By Mairead Perez
SANTA BARBARA, CA – Judge Raimundo Montes de Oca faced multiple cases of defendants violating parole or pretrial release during the arraignment hearings here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court this week.
One such case involved defendant “R***” (not real name), who had previously been charged in 2019 with four felonies for possessing and selling controlled substances, one misdemeanor for the possession of drug paraphernalia, and one additional felony for burglary.
Since then, the defendant has had multiple probation violations and as a result has been in and out of custody for the past year and a half. When defense attorney Robert Dahlstedt appeared in court on his client’s behalf to ask the judge to allow her to post bail, Judge Montes de Oca refused.
Dahlstedt listed a number of reasons why R*** was not a flight risk. Among them was her grandparents’ deteriorating health, with her grandfather suffering from a recent stroke and her grandmother being diagnosed with skin cancer. She also has a son that she sees once a week, per her visitation rights.
The defendant’s attorney also pointed out that R*** has a motorhome that requires her to “move from safe parking to safe parking every night.”
In response to Dahlstedt’s arguments, Judge Montes de Oca replied that he was not willing to set bail “at least now without probation weighing in.” The matter is to be revisited on Nov. 12.
Another case Judge Montes de Oca saw involved Cody Bliss, who had violated the terms of his pretrial release and ended up in Ventura County Jail, leaving his current case unadjudicated.
He was charged with five felonies for theft as well as one misdemeanor for resisting a public officer in January of this year. Upon pretrial release, he was given a GPS device and recommended to an in-patient treatment center.
However, the conditions of his release from custody were broken when he allegedly cut off his GPS and left the treatment center.
He is currently in custody in Ventura, waiting to be released on probation after serving the first 45 days of a 135 day sentence for a misdemeanor. He was recommended for another sober living home, yet his currently unresolved case in Santa Barbara presents a complication to accepting his spot.
While his attorney Susan Sindelar asked the judge to recall the warrant for his arrest, Judge Montes de Oca refused, pointing out the Santa Barbara case held more weight than Bliss’ misdemeanor and stating he wanted to “adjudicate this matter in an appropriate fashion.”