By Oliver Camarena
WOODLAND, CA – Accused Roger Bettancourt—who was made an offer for an alleged parole violation—could never get a clarifying question answered, and then rejected the offer Thursday here in Yolo County Superior Court.
Bettancourt is being charged with violation of parole. It was not clear in court records or in court statements what that violation of parole was, specifically.
Deputy Public Defender Katie Rogers presented an offer from Deputy District Attorney Aaron Rojas, who was not present at the hearing.
The offer stipulated that should Bettancourt admit to the violation of parole, he would be given 40 days jail time but he should qualify for Sheriff’s Work Project in Monterey County, meaning he could serve the time doing community service rather than in jail.
Bettancourt, appearing through Zoom, asked to clarify if it was “40 days incarcerated or 40 days work project?”
The parole officer on the case then clarified that there was already time served in the past by Bettancourt, 32 days, meaning the accused only need serve eight more days.
DPD Rogers said she didn’t know about the time served and was only aware of what the email sent by DDA Rojas said about the 40 days of jail time with high possibility of community service instead.
Bettancourt then asked if completing the 40 days means he would be able to get back with his family, noting that he has a newborn.
PD Rogers responded to him by reclarifying that the offer sent by DDA Rojas, in which he admits to the parole violation, stipulated the 40-day jail time with a high possibility of qualifying for the Monterey Sheriff’s Work Program. The offer made no mention of his standing no contact criminal protection order from a separate case he is facing.
As Bettancourt was still confused about his wife and children, Judge Doris Shockley interjected, explaining that there are two separate issues going on.
She explained that the court is not empowered to modify his no contact order with his family and it is only within the court’s jurisdiction to deal with his parole violation matter in which the DDA offered him a deal to complete a 40-day work project through the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.
To further add to the confusion, the parole officer inquired about the status of the 32 days of custody credit and how it applied to the offer of 40 days in Monterey’s work program.
PD Rogers said that’s not the offer from the District Attorney and that she wasn’t aware, nor was it mentioned in the email from DDA Rojas, that there was custody credit being applied. She further stated that Bettancourt can just confirm the hearing if he doesn’t want to take the offer.
Bettancourt asked once more about if there was any jail time associated with the offer.
Frustrated, PD Rogers told him again that he can apply for the work project in Monterey and if they don’t accept it, even though he was told earlier that he should be accepted in the program, he would have to report to jail.
Bettancourt rejected the offer saying he wants the VOP hearing.
Shortly after, Bettancourt reappeared over Zoom asking if he could come back and accept the deal and was told he could, though he’d half to wait for his case to be recalled.
When his case was eventually recalled, it was asked if his 32 days in custody were supposed to be credited to the 40 he had to serve or if it was added on.
PD Rogers said she didn’t know he even had the credits. The parole officer said that he served time in Dec. of this year.
It was explained again that if Bettancourt admits to the parole violation, he will be reinstated on parole and be given 40 days of jail time that he can serve through the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office Work Program. But, if he doesn’t sign up, he will end up in jail for the 40 days and he still has to abide by his no contact order with his family.
Bettancourt once more asked if the 40 days would be in county jail.
PD Rogers told him loudly that the offer would be 40 days minus the credits, referring to the 32 days he’d served in December, and that he has to go to the Monterey County Sheriff to serve on alternative sentencing.
Bettancourt then asked about the offer being 40 days of community hours.
PD Rogers responded saying “I’m done” and the case was scheduled for another hearing on June 17.
After Bettancourt had disconnected over Zoom, Judge Shockley told PD Rogers that “he (Bettancourt) was looking a gift horse in the mouth,” and thanked her for her service.
Court records suggest that Bettancourt has, indeed, 32 days in custody credit, which should mean he only had to do eight days in custody or community service.
Unless that’s changed, by the time he goes to court June 7, he would have done about 18 days more of jail time, meaning the 40 day offer will have been fulfilled—if he had taken the offer.