Suspect Tires of Attorney Squabbles, Pleads Guilty, Sentenced

By Shady Gonzales

MODESTO, CA – As Judge Dawna Reeves attempted to call the case of Joshua Gonsalves to be reviewed in Stanislaus County Superior Court Monday, the defense attorney and deputy district attorney stood aside and debated the particulars of the case.

In the end, after attorney squabbling, Gonsalves admitted he committed the crime and was sentenced.

But before that, Deputy District Attorney Patrick Hogan would explain that the case currently under review involved the accused allegedly entering a BevMo! and grabbing several boxes of Tito’s vodka—precisely 12 bottles—before running out of the store with them.

A civilian had taken down the accused’s license plate and that allowed officers to track Gonsalves down, who was found the boxes of the vodka the same night. Gonsalves earlier claimed that another man had brought the vodka into his car and he had no idea who that man was.

As the attorneys began to verbally scuffle over the matter, Judge Reeves clarified that Gonsalves had a felony jury trial set to take place the following Monday. Reeves stated that she had separated the cases because Gonsalves had waived time for each of his charges.

The case being currently reviewed, for a misdemeanor charge, had been scheduled for a jury trial as well, due to his choice to pull a time waiver. This date, Monday, was the last day for his time waiver.

And Judge Reeves is actively involved in another jury trial that would not be done today. Judge Reeves would have to continue Gonsalves’ misdemeanor case for another 30 days.

While some of the conversation between the defense attorney and deputy district attorney was not coherent, the audience could hear DDA Hogan as he stated: “Here’s the thing I don’t do. I don’t play games with defendants, who if they pull time off the list, think they’re going to get dismissals by pulling time.”

It could also be overheard that Gonsalves’ defense attorney asked DDA Hogan why the case wasn’t just dismissed when the defendant had decided to pull more time. In response DDA Hogan said, “Why would I do that? Why would I just dismiss the case?”

The defense attorney argued that dismissing the case would be appropriate since Gonsalves said he was not even at the location of the crime when it occurred.

DDA Hogan’s response was that “he also said he wasn’t there at the home invasion robbery. He also said there was nothing he could do with all the stolen stuff, and also that the guns weren’t his and the other gun wasn’t his and the ammunition wasn’t his…”

Judge Reeves interrupted the conversation between the attorneys to assure that Gonsalves’s felony charge would most likely be tried this next week. She also stated, in regard to Gonsalves’ misdemeanor charges, that she “really would prefer if [they] all could work it out. [She] really would enjoy it.”

Following his discussion with DDA Hogan, the defense attorney attempted to leave the courtroom. At this time, Judge Reeves called out his name and told the attorney not to leave the room as she would like to call the case.

Once having called Gonsalves’ case, Judge Reeves mentioned that she would have to use the authority of the pandemic emergency order that allows her to extend the deadline of the misdemeanor case hearing for another 30 days, following Gonsalves’ felony trial.

At this point in time, Gonsalves asked if they would actually make it to trial next week.

Judge Reeves explained to the accused that there is a good chance that the felony trial would take place next week but she would not know for sure until Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

Following this clarification, Gonsalves asked Judge Reeves if he “could just possibly go back pro-se because I feel that I would be better representing [myself].”

Judge Reeves suggested that the accused meet with his counsel on the felony case before making the decision to represent himself as the trial is coming up the following Monday. Reeves let Gonsalves know that his attorney for the felony case was currently in the courtroom and could hear what he was saying.

Gonsalves began to speak, saying, “Your Honor, could you…” However, Judge Reeves interrupted his sentence at this point and repeated the phrase, “You haven’t met her yet, have you” three times before the accused shook his head.

Judge Reeves advised Gonsalves to allow his attorney on the felony case to discuss the case with him before he “makes life decisions at the drop of a hat.”

Gonsalves responded by saying that he is not worried about the decision. Judge Reeves admitted that she knew the accused was not worried about the decision but it would “not hurt to think about it and discuss it” before making the decision.

At this point in their discussion, the defense attorney currently representing Gonsalves interrupted the dialogue between the accused and the judge to ask Judge Reeves if she would ask Gonsalves if he was asking to represent himself in both his misdemeanor and his felony cases.

Gonsalves said that he was only asking to represent himself for the felony case but that he also did not see any reason to drag a misdemeanor case out for another 30 days.

Judge Reeves let the accused know that he could resolve the case today if he pleaded guilty in this case for the charge of petty theft. She also directed the defense counsel to speak to Gonsalves about the case at this point.

As the defense counsel began to describe the situation to Gonsalves, he interrupted the explanation by saying, “It doesn’t matter, I am guilty.” Gonsalves interrupted the defense attorney’s explanation one more time saying, “I’m guilty.”

Judge Reeves interrupted the defense counsel’s explanation and explained that they should fill out the plea form to record his open plea.

Judge Reeves accepted Gonsalves’ guilty plea. Gonsalves had already been in custody for six months.

Judge Reeves clarified that the stolen property was recovered and that the value of the items was less than $950 dollars, making it a misdemeanor.

Following these clarifications, Judge Reeves estimated that Gonsalves had been detained for 150 days for this particular case and sentenced him to another 300 days on the misdemeanor concurrent to any other time that he owes, with probation being denied.

Gonsalves’ felony case was still scheduled for trial next week.

About The Author

Shady is a third year undergraduate student at UC Santa Barbara. She is majoring in history with a minor in professional writing. She is passionate about working in the criminal defense sector of law and plans on attending law school in the near future.

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