By Fiona Davis
WOODLAND, CA – A man here in Yolo County Superior Court returned to court Monday, almost three years after his probation was revoked and a warrant was issued in his case.
The prosecution, defense and presiding judge all struggled to understand why it had taken so long to revisit or resolve this case.
“Who dropped the ball?” the judge in opening asked the court, and, answering himself, added, “Maybe everyone.”
In late 2018, the man entered a plea of no contest to both the theft and violation of a protective order charge. In exchange, the prosecution dropped the felony burglary charge.
(Note: The Davis Vanguard does not publish the names of individuals only charged or convicted for misdemeanor offenses. For this reason, the defendant in the case will remain anonymous).
With this original plea deal, the man was sentenced to three years of probation, and was required to complete eight hours of community service.
However, in late 2019, the man failed to attend two court hearings meant to review the completion of his community service requirement. In light of his absence, his probation was revoked, and a warrant was issued.
Yet it appears that no hearings for the defendant’s case were held until just this Monday.
In a hearing initially meant to resolve whether the violation of probation was to be admitted or denied, Judge David Rosenberg, along with both the defense and prosecution, spent several minutes trying to understand the case’s current status, and discussing why it had taken so long to hold another hearing.
After several minutes, the judge asked emphatically, “So [the 2019 hearing] was just to review community service?”
On the side of the prosecution, Deputy District Attorney David Wilson expressed frustration with the case’s stagnation for the last three years, and suggested that the case should have been resolved much earlier.
“The key question is why are we here three years later? Why was this not addressed in a misdemeanor case sooner?” Wilson asked the court
He continued, saying that “this is concerning that he’s been in revoked status for three years—it seems to me if this was just about eight hours of community service that could have been taken care of a long time ago.”
Judge Rosenberg appeared to interpret Wilson’s comments as an accusation, telling the DDA “So, that sounds very accusatory of the court.”
When asked why the accused had not completed his community service in the last three years, Deputy Public Defender Danielle A. Craig stated that the pandemic had impacted his ability to fulfill this condition of his probation.
Craig told the court that the latest hearings for this case were “just a few months prior to the pandemic hitting. I know that clients have had a challenging time getting their community service done.”
The accused also spoke up, stating that he had tried to complete his community service prior to the pandemic, but the services he reached out to were uncooperative.
“I tried several times, but they just kept pushing me out, and then the pandemic hit,” he told Judge Rosenberg.
In response, the judge told the accused plainly, “Well, it would be a lot simpler all around if you would just get it done.”
By the end of the hearing, the warrant issued against the accused was recalled, and his next court appearance was scheduled for June 6, giving him six additional weeks to complete the days’ worth of community service.