By Gabriel Eskandari
SACRAMENTO, CA – In Sacramento County Superior Court this past Thursday, Judge Lawrence G. Brown lectured David Squires about his responsibilities under a court program to grant him probation in lieu of three years in prison after his felony guilty plea.
“This is not an ‘I-got-you’ court, this is not ‘good versus evil.’ This is about accountability and a focus on treatment, okay?” Judge Brown told Squires, who, as part of the deal, pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment in place of the original criminal threats charge.
Public Defender Addie Young, representing Squires, announced that her client had completed his Housing for Accountable Living Transitions (HALT) program, which was the condition that was needed to be completed before Squires’ strike could be stricken.
Deputy District Attorney Chris Carlson confirmed that if Squires had not completed HALT, he would’ve been sentenced with a strike, but because he’s graduated from the program they would erase the strike. DDA Carlson also noted Squires’ completion of the 52-week Batterer’s Treatment Program as part of HALT.
DDA Carlson then moved to strike a prior conviction in the interest of justice in light of the Reentry Court disposition, which Judge Brown granted.
The suspended term had an upper term of three years in state prison. Instead, Squires was given probation for three years as part of the Reentry Program. He was also served a no-contact order from the alleged victim.
Judge Brown then welcomed Squires to the Reentry Program, and spoke candidly about accountability in the context of the Reentry Program.
“It’s at this point in a person’s journey in Reentry Court that I will observe that this is not a get-out-of-jail-free card program by any stretch. We would not be able to justify to the community why it is we let somebody out who otherwise is looking at a three-year prison term on a case unless we were to assure that there’s a lot of accountability,” said the judge.
“You’ll be actively supervised by the probation department. You’ll be doing thorough class work. Our goal is to have it that, if and when you graduate from the court, that you come out at that end in much better shape than when you came in the system on this most recent case,” Judge Brown added.
“And what’s in it for us is of course it feels good to see somebody mark that success. It’s also good for the community in terms of not another crime being committed and somebody else being victimized. There’s something kind of in there for everyone,” said the judge.
Judge Brown said, “It doesn’t strike me as it’s going to be any problem with you, the way you’ve conducted yourself, but I’ll just state that it’s very important to me that you conduct yourself respectfully with fellow participants, the case managers, probation, the attorneys, the court, and I think what you’ll find is that it’s not too much to ask because you will be treated in that same fashion.”