By Alex Jimenez
DUBLIN, CA- Assistant Public Defender Zafir Omair Shaiq alleged here in Alameda County Superior Court Friday that a man’s right to a speedy arraignment had been violated after spending six days in custody without seeing a judge, and with mental health as a factor, argues that Santa Rita Jail “is not a safe place for people with mental health issues.”
The judge in the case decided to postpone a decision until April 4.
The accused in this case was arrested for multiple misdemeanors, including battery, false imprisonment and resisting arrest – he was also taken to a hospital were officials believed he had attempted to commit suicide.
(Note: The Vanguard does not usually disclose the names of those charged with misdemeanors and instead will refer to them as the accused.)
“The District Attorney’s office is tasked with enforcing the law and they work on enforcing the law when it comes to anyone else. Here, they violated the law,” said Shaiq. He contends that the accused’s rights were violated based on the California law where a person must receive a charge or be let go within 48 hours of the arrest.
There was some discrepancy given that the accused had spent some days in the hospital but was booked on March 27. The disagreement lies in characterizing the 48 hour rule because the accused was booked directly from the hospital.
Shaiq asked the courts to remedy this violation by releasing the accused, maintaining the District Attorney office, by filling the charges late, “violated his rights” and didn’t follow the law in this case.
Deputy District Attorney Scott James Ford pushed back on this request, asking the court to set bail at $30,000 and issue a CPO for the victim in this case.
According to Ford, the victim and accused are in a relationship, and the accused grabbed the victim by the throat, slamming her on the wall and strangled the victim, who had a redness to her neck as a result. “Those facts show he is a threat to the victim in this case and to public safety,” said Ford.
In response, Shaiq told the courts that the accused had received a 0 out of 14 score for pretrial services which “that’s pretty rare to see,” according to Shaiq.
The score describes a defendant’s likelihood of failure to appear and/or rearrest as a function of the rates of those outcomes among other defendants with a score in the same range; a high score indicates a higher likelihood for failure to appear or rearrest.
Shaiq also disagreed with Ford’s characterization of the 48 hour rule, arguing the accused being brought to county Jail directly from the hospital is different than him being released and then booked in county jail.
“I don’t want to minimize what happened, to me domestic violence has all kinds of consequences, especially choking,” said Judge Stuart Hing.
Shaiq asserted that he was not asking for the charges to be dismissed, acknowledging that the individual will have to face the consequences for his alleged actions, but rather simply asking that he be released because his rights were violated.
The hearing was continued for the later part of the morning court session, during the second part Deputy District Attorney Joseph Richard Eichhorn stepped in, adding to Ford’s argument.
“I am concerned for the safety of the public and the member of the public I am most concerned about is with the accused,” according to Eichhorn, the accused had objectively appeared to commit suicide. Eichhorn would like for there to be a place for him to stay when he is released but thinks the release is premature.
Shaiq would detail the issues with keeping the accused in Santa Rita Jail, which is being “sued for their treatment of individuals with mental issues. A lot of terrible things happened there.”
After hearing both arguments Judge Hing decided to recall the case the week of April 4.