By Brinda Kalita
RIVERSIDE, CA- During a motion hearing here in Riverside County Superior Court this week, Judge Mac Fisher gave Jay Douglas Rupert some valuable advice.
“I would encourage you to go to trial. If you believe that you are not guilty, the one way to get your freedom is to prove that to a jury,” said Judge Fisher, when Rupert expressed his frustrations over this case.
Rupert appeared in court pro per, meaning he is defending himself. He is being charged for a second-degree robbery after allegedly robbing a local 7-Eleven.
He first brought a motion challenging whether the defendant—he—has been put on notice about the crime allegedly committed. Rupert believed that he was not given any reason as to why he was being charged by the prosecution.
However, Deputy District Attorney John Mandio stated that, as it was not a robbery of a home or teller machine, it automatically gets sorted into the second degree, which Rupert should have already known prior to agreeing to defend himself.
Judge Fisher concurred with Mandio’s argument. Fisher cited Penal Code section 212.5, which states that every robbery unless specified at a home or automated teller is a second-degree robbery, in his explanation of his agreement.
The motion was dismissed by Judge Fisher.
The second motion Rupert brought to court was a Trombetta motion, which requests a trial be dismissed altogether, on the grounds of there being not enough evidence for the prosecution to incriminate the defendant.
Rupert believed that since the prosecution did not get the security camera footage from the 7-Eleven from the night of the robbery, they did not have enough evidence to show that he committed the crime.
In his response, DDA Mandio stated that the prosecution did get security footage from the 7-Eleven, but the footage was unclear and therefore not useful for their argument.
Judge Fisher dismissed the motion on the grounds that there is a difference between “preserving” and “collecting” evidence. Since the prosecution did collect the evidence, but just did not preserve it, there was no reason for the trial to be dismissed.
Judge Fisher also reminded Rupert that “you would get to argue to a jury that had they (the prosecution) kept the video tape, they would be able to see that it was not you.”
Rupert then replied about how he was unable to subpoena, which means to request for witnesses or information to be brought into court.
Judge Fisher kindly informed Rupert that even if he did not have a lawyer, he could still subpoena and gather all the information he would need for any trial.
The third motion Rupert brought to court was a Romero motion to strike a prior strike conviction for the purposes of sentencing. Rupert stated that since he did not commit any other crimes in the last 10 years, that his sentence should be free of the weight from other previous strike crimes.
Judge Fisher then explained to Rupert that his criminal history was far from clear, and cited all of the offenses that Rupert has committed from a time period of 1991-2018. Judge Fisher denied the Romero motion based on his crime history.
The fourth motion Rupert asked for was a motion to decrease his bail from $500,000.
Judge Fisher immediately denied this motion, stating that the bail was already lowered from $1 million to $500,000 by another judge.
Fisher then gave Rupert until March 15 to request a jury trial.