Judge Postpones Final Decision on Alleged Court Error that Changed Fate of Accused

By Gracy Joslin

WOODLAND, CA – In a Deferred Entry of Judgment hearing in the Yolo County Superior Court this week, Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt asked the court to enter Rogelio Aragon’s previous felony charge as a misdemeanor—but Deputy District Attorney Alex Kian opposed the motion, charging “it still remains a felony.”

Back in March of 2019, Aragon was charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor for robbery in the second degree, grand theft and battery.

However, he decided to take a plea deal which would allow his felony charge to be entered as a misdemeanor, if he did not violate the terms of his probation for up to six months after the start date.

During the hearing, DDA Kian stated that “there were violations,” but did not give further information as to what the actual violations were and noted he would need more time to determine the specifics.

Furthermore, according to DDA Kian, probation asked for judgment to be imposed because the man allegedly failed to appear for probation intake, did not remain in contact with probation, as well as “other issues,” thus concluding that the felony charge should remain.

After listening to Kian’s recitation of his notes on the case, PD Van Zandt stepped in to address that “due to a court error, Aragon was not actually placed on probation until July 15 of last year.”

Moreover, even though he was believed to be on probation during the time of the alleged probation violations, he actually wasn’t and “during that (actual) six month period, beginning to end, until Jan. 15, [Aragon] did not violate probation,” according to PD Van Zandt.

Thus, PD Van Zandt argued that because Aragon complied to his probation terms “pursuant to the plea agreement, the deferred felony is to be entered as a misdemeanor.”

After hearing both parties Judge Dyer decided it was best to come back to this case at a later date, but, before making final remarks, he mentioned “it’s going to be a problem if Mr. Aragon isn’t appearing in court.”

In response, PD Van Zandt insisted “under the strict terms of the plea agreement, which is all I am asking the court to enforce, it doesn’t matter if he is not here or not.”

Apparently ignoring the PD’s appeal at this moment, Judge Dyer issued a bench warrant until March 22, and required that DDA Kian file any documentation that would oppose what PD Van Zandt has just said in court before the next appearance.

About The Author

Gracy is a 4th Year at UC Davis studying Political Science and minoring in Communications and Sociology. Post graduation plans include traveling and then eventually attending Law School.

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