By Alex Jimenez
OAKLAND, CA – Alameda County Superior Court Judge Sharon Djemal this week initially agreed to order electronic monitoring at the prosecution’s request, but the public defender here stepped in and convinced the judge to let the accused consult a defense attorney before placing restrictive measures.
The accused is being charged with driving under the influence and hit and run, while also having two pending cases of the same nature, all resulting in a crashed vehicle.
(Note: The Vanguard does not usually disclose the names of those charged with misdemeanors and instead will refer to them as the accused.)
“It shows that the defendant does have an issue and is posing a significant danger to the community,” said O’Malley, adding that in at least two of the cases the defendant has collided with other people’s cars while people were inside.
For those reasons O’ Malley requested that the judge set bail and remand the driver, or at the very least order him to enroll in electronic monitoring services so he is “taken off the road and able to deal with his alcohol problem.
Judge Djemal was convinced to order electronic monitoring before Assistant Public Defender Omid Khalilnaji, who at this time has not been appointed to the case, intervened.
The judge was initially hesitant but allowed Khalilnaji to speak as “a friend of the court,” said Judge Djemal.
Khalilnaji argued that if the courts were to impose a restrictive measure, one in which required the accused to pay, “he should be given a chance to have an attorney making arguments on his behalf.”
The electronic monitoring measure was a premature position to take, according to Khalilnaji, voicing contempt of an order that would limit the driver’s driving privileges to doctor appointments and to go to the grocery store.
Upon further review, DDA O’Malley told the judge that the accused was driving without a valid license and so is not allowed to drive unless in a medical emergency.
Judge Djemal decided to give the accused a chance to hire defense counsel or talk to the public defender’s office before setting restrictions.