By Gabriel Eskandari
MERCED, CA – During an arraignment in Merced County Superior Court this week, Judge Paul C. Lo granted the release of Manuel Martinez, a man accused of felony commercial burglary and misdemeanor drug possession, telling him it is his “last chance.”
The commercial burglary felony stems from Dec. 3, and the drug misdemeanor stems from 2020.
At the start of the arraignment, Martinez tried to explain that he was at work at the time of the alleged burglary incident, and does not know why his name was brought up for that charge.
Judge Lo interrupted Martinez to first appoint the public defender to his case. Assistant Public Defender Vincent Andrade, representing Martinez, asked if the court would consider releasing his client.
After a brief moment, Judge Lo agreed to do so, noting, “Mr. Martinez, the court will go ahead and release you. You’re ordered to stay away, however, from the Merced Inn and Suites … if you go there you’re going to be in violation of the terms of your release, and you can be taken back to custody.”
At this point, Deputy District Attorney Gerard Egan informed the judge that Martinez had failed to appear in court on Oct. 21.
Judge Lo then asked if Martinez was homeless, to which Martinez responded saying he is not.
“I’m going to give you a chance. I know you didn’t show up on Oct. 21, the court sent you a notice and you didn’t show up. But this is your last chance. If you don’t show up at the next court date, you’re going to have another warrant for your arrest, you will be taken back to custody and the court is not going to release you next time,” Judge Lo warned.
PD Andrade recommended that Martinez enter a time waiver to postpone his case so that he could speak to his lawyer before his next court date, and he agreed to do so for the misdemeanor and felony cases.
The next court date on the matter will be Jan. 5 at 8:30 p.m.