Judge Allows Defendant with Previous Failure to Appear to Participate in Drug Abuse Recovery Program Over DA’s Objections

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By Taylor Smith and Sahaily Zazueta

WOODLAND, CA- Aaron Mireles pleaded no contest to a count of felony burglary in the second degree in Yolo Superior Court last Friday, and Judge Tom Dyer also authorized Mireles to be released on supervised own recognizance release if a bed becomes available at the Monterey Teen Challenge program.

But this was not without objections from the deputy district attorney and the deputy probation officer.

Mireles also pleaded no contest to the case enhancement that he committed the burglary while he was released from custody on his own recognizance. The other counts against Mireles, which included petty theft and possession of controlled substances, were dismissed.

Given that Mireles has three cases against him, this hearing included several years of probation.

Deputy Public Defender James Bradford requested Judge Dyer grant supervised own recognizance release pending sentencing to allow Mireles to participate in the Sacramento Teen Challenge program if a bed becomes available. DPD Bradford stated Mireles was tentatively accepted into the program.

Judge Dyer granted DPD Bradford’s request, with Bradford adding that either the public defender’s office or probation department could provide transportation.

Deputy probation officer Vanessa Flores, appearing via Zoom, asked to confirm that the program was in Sacramento, because the probation department had received information from the public defender’s office that Mireles was tentatively accepted into the Monterey Teen Challenge program.

DPD Bradford apologized and clarified he was referring to the Monterey program.

The Monterey Teen Challenge Program  is a “faith-based, non-profit, residential discipleship/recovery program for those over 18 with life-controlling problems” that aims to help patients regain balance in their mental, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual states.

Flores informed the court that the probation department would not be transporting Mireles to the Monterey program. And Deputy District Attorney Matt De Moura, also appearing via Zoom, raised concerns about allowing Mireles to participate in the program in Monterey County.

DDA De Moura stated, “Since it would be Monterey County, I would object to the supervised [own recognizance] release… [Mireles failed to appear] at his sentencing which led to the [case enhancement] B admission… It leaves open a lot of risk for him to FTA again.”

Based on these concerns, Judge Dyer then denied Bradford’s supervised release request.

DPD Bradford asked Judge Dyer to reconsider. “[Mireles] has been eager to participate in treatment for a while now. It’s taken awhile to find him a program. We’ve found him a program, we can transport him… He stands to face a lot if he walks from the program and doesn’t appear for sentencing.”

DPD Bradford stressed to the court the risk that Mireles was willing to take on to participate in the program. “Amongst his three probation cases… he’s facing almost up to eight years in the state prison should he fail to appear or otherwise pick up a new offense. I’ve reviewed that with him, he’s prepared to take that risk, so he’s asking for that opportunity.”

Bradford also expressed the urgency of the matter.

“My concern is that if we wait until after he is placed on probation, a bed will no longer be available, and it sounds like I’m hearing from probation that they might not even facilitate a program out of county based on their resources or their willingness to. He’s asking for that opportunity,” said the DPD.

Judge Dyer addressed Mireles, stating, “Eight years pending. That’s what’s hanging over your head. I’m concerned about what Mr. De Moura was articulating, not showing up to court… but I’m going to give you that opportunity sir. If a bed becomes available, you can be released to the public defender for transport. It’s a big risk and, sir, don’t prove me wrong.”

DDA De Moura asked the court to authorize GPS if Mireles is released and transported to the Monterey Teen Challenge Program. Judge Dyer accepted the request.

Mireles’ next court date for sentencing is set for May 6.

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About The Author

Sahaily is a senior undergraduate student at California State University Long Beach, majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Human Development. She aspires to become a public defender.

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