By Joshua Cenzano
SANTA BARBARA, CA – “S___”* was found guilty of loitering in a public parking lot and was unable to defend himself in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Monday since he was not present—Judge Jean Dandona presided over the matter with only one party present and ultimately concluded that S___ was guilty, after some haggling over language.
Of specific importance to this case was the exact wording of the relevant statute, which makes it a crime to “enter or remain in any City owned or operated parking lot or parking structure” without parking a car or using the restroom.
Officer Van Eyck testified that S___ had been arrested for sitting on a planter that was attached to the structure of Santa Barbara’s Lot 2 but had not been inside the structure.
Judge Dandona, in light of the defense’s absence, questioned the officer and the attorney for the prosecution as to how exactly they would define the boundaries of the structure. She expressed some qualms since S___ was undeniably not inside the structure, despite the prosecution’s insistence that the statute should apply.
The judge ultimately ruled that, despite the existence of a physical structure, the relevant boundaries of the lot extended beyond the walls to encompass the surrounding area, such as the planter on which S___ had been sitting. He was therefore found guilty of loitering and ordered to pay $187.20 in a timely manner.
In an unrelated matter, “I___”* was found guilty of a kennel license violation for owning four dogs without a permit. Santa Barbara municipal code makes it a crime for any person to maintain a kennel—a property with four or more dogs kept for any purpose—without a license.
Representing herself in court through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, I___ maintained that she had only ever owned three dogs, despite the prosecution’s alleged evidence to the contrary.
Officer Kirk Taylor testified that on Jan. 17 of last year, he had visited the property of I___ and observed four dogs, after having warned her multiple times of the municipal regulation. He presented a photograph taken by a neighbor as evidence, showing four dogs with similar collars and leashes.
The accused’s daughter, objecting from the gallery, maintained that her mother had only ever owned three dogs, a point which I___ affirmed in her testimony.
Stating the age and lack of intent by I___ as well as Officer Taylor volunteering out of turn the fact that I___ currently only owns three dogs, Judge Dandona found her guilty of a kennel license violation but reduced her fine to $50.
NOTE: The names used here are not the accused’s real names, per The Vanguard’s new policy of not identifying the real names in lower level misdemeanor cases. https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/11/vanguard-to-remove-reference-to-names-of-those-accused-in-court-watch-coverage/