Man Almost Avoids Jail Time When Sentence Miscommunicated in Court Documents

By Taylor Smith

WOODLAND, CA – A quick hearing turned into strenuous confusion late last week when there was a discrepancy between copies of the probation order and the plea agreement ordered for a man for misdemeanor driving under the influence.

The man also avoided three more days in jail. Almost.

Although neither the man—who’s not identified because the charge is only a misdemeanor—nor his attorney showed up to Yolo County Superior Court when a final sentence was given to the accused.

The hearing started out as any other routine sentencing, covering the basics of the plea agreement and the probation terms for the man’s case. It was almost over when Judge David Rosenberg asked what more they needed to finish the case and move on to the next.

When asked for the man’s surrender date, Judge Rosenberg seemed to have a moment of confusion. At first, he questioned, “I did not give him a surrender date?”

After receiving confirmation that no surrender date had been given, the judge decided to go through his paperwork from this case. Still rather puzzled, he said, “Let me pull up the terms … that would be very strange.” And strange it was.

After a few minutes of searching, he said, “I see the probation order and I don’t see any time ordered, so there would be no surrender date.”

Judge Rosenberg continued his research. He reiterated, “April 1 was the date I put him on summary probation, and I’m looking at the probation order. There is no time to serve in jail, therefore there is no surrender date needed.”

Still, the judge persisted to look for yet another document for clarification. Finally, Judge Rosenberg found the discrepancy he was looking for.

“So one copy of the probation order has no jail time and the other copy does have jail time. Four days with one day credit. The returned copy miraculously doesn’t have that in it,” he said with apparent surprise.

Despite this confusion, the judge was able to move forward with the sentencing, concluding, “The court will issue a surrender date at this time and it will be served (on the man) and his attorney.”

Ultimately, it was decided the man will, in fact, serve his four days—minus one day time-served—early this summer, be subject to three years of probation and pay fines/fees of $1,933.

About The Author

Taylor is a second year student at UC Davis pursuring a degree in Communication with a minor in Philosophy. She plans to graduate in 2023 and hopes to attend law school post-graduation to explore her many passions.

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