Possible Manipulation of Court in Domestic Violence Case Leaves Judge ‘Little Bit Frustrated’

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By Jake Romero and Srimathi Kannan

WOODLAND, CA — A Yolo County Superior Court judge Monday admitted to some frustration during a domestic violence hearing over what appeared to be a victim’s manipulation of the court’s restraining order process.

Jonathan Mendez is charged with injuring his domestic partner—with whom he shares a child—in June 2021. The charge is enhanced because Mendez has a prior felony conviction.

Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez asked the court to hold off issuing a criminal protective order (CPO) for the complaining victim, citing text messages between the two parties in which the victim referred to their relationship status and the accused’s attitude toward their child as reasons for requesting a CPO.

PD Gonzalez said these reasons are inappropriate and the texts did not suggest that the woman fears Mendez.

He also said the texts show that Mendez and the victim discussed meeting up on multiple occasions so Mendez could visit his child, but this would not end up happening because arguments ensued about their relationship.

Deputy District Attorney Jesse Richardson also reviewed the text messages and confirmed that contact was initiated by both parties. DDA Richardson paraphrased some of the interactions for Judge Peter Williams.

“Basically, she says, ‘You need to be sober or else I can do a CPO’ (and) ‘This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to do a no-contact CPO,’” DDA Richardson explained. He added that he did not see any threatening texts from the accused.

Judge Williams said that, despite not knowing if the texts depict a full or authentic account, he had heard enough to not issue a CPO at this time.

“It makes me a little bit frustrated to think somebody might be manipulating the CPO or the justice system for means other than what it was meant for,” said Judge Williams. “That bothers me greatly.”

The court decided to lift the no-contact order from Mendez’s bail provisions, as requested by the defense. The matter of the CPO will be revisited at a preliminary hearing Feb. 16 when the court is expected to hear from the victim.

Prior to the court’s midday recess, Judge Williams issued a warning to the accused, noting, “If it turns out that you pulled one over on me, your attorney and the prosecutor, and you haven’t shown us all the texts or those texts aren’t what you say they are, there’s going to be some consequences for that, too.”

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About The Author

Jake is a senior at UC Berkeley studying English & Journalism.

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