COVID-19 Still Hitting Jails Hard – Cellmate Tests Positive, Leading to Postponement of Preliminary Hearing

By Emma Kantor

WOODLAND, CA – The spread of COVID-19 continues to persist in the jails, ultimately affecting the ability of defendants to be present in court, as evidenced here last week.

Emiliano Sevilla is facing felony charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and was set to have his preliminary hearing in Yolo County Superior Court in front of Judge Dave Rosenburg Friday.

However, Judge Rosenberg had a conversation with the lieutenant at the jail and informed counsel that Sevilla could not be transported to court for a hearing until Feb. 27 because of COVID-19 concerns.

Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hutchinson provided more detail on the situation and informed the court that although Sevilla had not tested positive, his cellmate had. This positive test resulted in Sevilla being placed in isolation at the jail infirmary.

Hutchinson also told the court that in this case time had not been waived and the court will have to proceed within 30 court days of his arraignment, which occurred Feb. 3.

The court indicated the earliest possible date for his new preliminary hearing date is Monday, Feb. 28.

Deputy District Attorney Garret Hamilton said he has difficult scheduling conflicts on March 1 and 2, and although he will do the preliminary hearing on Feb. 28 if that is what the court orders, he would prefer not to.

DDA Hamilton also said that he anticipates the preliminary hearing to be “lengthy.”

This led Judge Rosenberg to find good cause to vacate the day’s preliminary hearing and to exercise his authority under the emergency order to extend the time.

Sevilla’s preliminary examination is now set for March 3.

About The Author

Emma Kantor is a second year undergraduate student at UC Davis pursuing a bachelor of science degree in Managerial Economics. She is passionate about her education and advocating for others. She intends to attend law school after finishing her undergraduate degree.

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