Big Support for Woman, but Judge Still Sentences Her to Jail Because of Repeated Offenses

By Alexander Ramirez

WOODLAND – It was an emotional case in Yolo County Superior Court’s Dept. 8 late last week when multiple community members—including a victim—spoke on behalf of the accused, with some even having tears in their eyes as they addressed Judge Peter Williams.

One of those people who spoke in court was the accused’s spouse, although the accused’s charges included corporal injury to spouse or cohabitant and assault likely to produce great bodily injury from Nov. 2020 and the same charges plus a threat with intent to terrorize from Aug. 2021.

The case opened with Judge Williams acknowledging he agreed and disagreed with Deputy Public Defender Teal Dixon’s sentencing memorandum. The judge disagreed the accused was suitable for probation, but agreed that she should be sentenced to a lower term.

When Dixon was asked to speak, she instead preferred to let people close to the accused speak for her, including the accused’s aforementioned spouse, who began with a broken voice.

“So, despite everything that has happened, I have never seen my wife more committed than she is right now. She’s completed her BDIOP. She attends meetings. Her support system has come back and everyone is really there for her. I maintain employment so I’m able to keep her at home so she could focus on recovery, they said.

They added, “And you know, the report tries to make like I was vulnerable, but I got in my car, I drove down to the police station and I did the right thing. And I would do it again. And my wife understands where I stand on that, you know, that I want her clean and sober and that’s all I want for her, but she’s a mother, she’s a daughter, she’s a granddaughter, a niece, and throw(ing) her away for three years is not going to fix anything.”

They finished, “We’re taking all the steps we need now, and I can’t imagine her leaving. It’s supposed to be corrections. She has severe mental illness and substance abuse problems and throwing her in a cell for three years telling her, ‘That’s going to make her better,’ it’s not. I’ve forgiven her for everything that-that has happened, and I hope you feel the same because I don’t feel like that will help. And that’s all I have to say.”

The accused’s son began to talk next, and although he told the court that “(he’s) not good at public speaking,” and “I apologize for my lack of words.” Judge Williams agreed it’s not an easy situation to talk about and that it’s okay.

He added, “I love my mom. I see her every day and I know, having my own mental health issues I’ve been diagnosed with what the doctor said was schizophrenia, which made it difficult for me…”

The statement finished with what sounded like the son asking the court for his mom to have another chance as he thanked the court for listening and stepped off.

PD Dixon then let the court know that the accused’s father was too emotional to speak to the court but wanted the court to know that he was supportive of her.

Dixon continued to raise the possibility that mental health court isn’t the right form of recovery for the accused and she hasn’t had the opportunity to try probation.

The PD argued the accused was not only went to different groups, is taking her medication and seeing a therapist, and she has been committed to recovery, with Dixon relaying that her community “hasn’t seen her in years be this calm and focused, this able to focus on her recovery.

“In addition, I think the court needs to understand she’s a person. She’s not just a defendant who failed at mental health court. It’s truly easy to throw out numbers, three years, four years, and forget that this is a human being in our community. As you can see, she’s a member of this family. As you can see, this family relies on her,” said PD Dixon.

“Her son relies on her for his own mental health. I think you should consider that as well. What are we accomplishing in the community by not giving this person an opportunity to do probation when she might be able to succeed in a different path to recovery,” Dixon added.

Deputy District Attorney Amanda Jayne Zambor listed details of the accused’s cases, arguing, “I think [the accused] has been given another chance. In the first case, she took a large wine bottle and hit…upside the head, leaving a large bump, and said she was going to kill him. We gave her a chance. When she came back and assaulted him again, I tentatively gave her another chance and let her go back to mental health court.

“And it was very tentative because in that case she actually took a curling iron cord and wrapped it around his neck, and whether he wants to admit that he was vulnerable at the time, he’s talking about it after the fact. When she’s sitting there with a cord around his neck, threatening to kill him, he’s in a vulnerable position,” the DDA said.

Zambor raised the possibility that the accused is manipulating the system to get a program she could do on her own based on what she already knows and what she thinks is good for her and not what others want for her and that probation is the right direction to go in.

“This is a typical cycle of violence. [The accused] says that she is now willing to take responsibility and previously she wouldn’t have, but quite frankly, I think the letters that made it to the court continue to blame others for her actions,” said the DDA, telling the court the the accused is still a public safety risk.

Judge Williams said it’s an odd case because it looks as though the accused truly tries hard to get better until she doesn’t, but still appears to be remorseful because of it.

“A lot of time and resources were put into you… and you tried until you decided not to try anymore. That’s where the problem is. I don’t think probation is going to work for you going forward. That all being said, I don’t think a sentence of four years is necessary either,” said Judge Williams as he addressed the accused.

Judge Williams sentenced an aggregate low term of two years in jail for one case and another two years for the accused’s other case, but these are to be served concurrently with the accused already having 53 days of credit and more possible days to be calculated.

About The Author

Alexander Ramirez is a third-year Political Science major at the University of California, Davis. He hopes to hone his writing skills in preparation for the inevitable time of graduation.

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