PD Charges District Attorney Tardiness Delays Resentencing Hearing for Months

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By Natalia Ruvalcaba

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Doris Shockley argued here late last week the resentencing case for Lee Ray Williams could not proceed without the submission of a subpoena to retrieve the man’s C file, despite Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira’s urgency to move the case forward.

A hearing began Friday morning to strike down noncompulsory priors for Williams, but PD Sequeira noted that her client would not be made available by CDCR until 1:30 p.m.

Williams was sentenced to 42 years in state prison in 2010 after he was found guilty of first-degree burglary

The crime took place in 2009 when he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s residence and burglarized her home while no one was there.  Williams already had a long criminal history of felony convictions prior to the 2009 burglary.

Deputy District Attorney Frits Van Der Hoek reported to the court he was not prepared to proceed with the hearing because he had “submitted orders to the court, so we need a court order to get his C file. We need a C file to do the hearing.”

Judge Shockley communicated she just received the files last night, to which DDA Van Der Hoek asserted he would need those files for a subpoena for the C files.

The hearing could not begin without the retrieval of the C files, insisted DDA Van Der Hoek.

PD Sequeira charged the modifications were discussed at the last court hearing and that the retrieval of the C files should have been done in a more efficient manner.

In explaining how DDA could have easily retrieved the C files, PD Sequeira maintained, “Nobody’s ever reached out from their office to do that. It sounds like they waited till the very last minute to ask the court to even get them permission to get the C file.”

Judge Shockley noted, despite PD Sequeira’s claims, the DA was still unprepared, and added that Williams’ life sentence wouldn’t be greatly affected by a short continuance.

PD Sequeira claimed that his sentence is not the main factor for her argument, rather it is “the agencies that we have to coordinate with to get this done.”

DDA Van Der Hoek said another DDA wanted to subpoena the C file.  Judge Shockley asserted that she just received the file last night, and they could move forward with getting a certified copy of the document to him.

Two dates were requested by DDA Van Der Hoek, one of which will discuss only the contents of the subpoenaed document and the other to hold the hearing.

However, as stated by PD Sequeira, “requesting a file from CDCR on a lifer through a subpoena will take months,” leading the PD to argue that as a lifelong district attorney, the DDA should known the process would be lengthy.

“There are so many people in the District Attorney’s Office that can do this that I am not understanding why they waited so long to do the request,” insisted PD Sequeira.

Judge Shockley waved her hand to signal PD Sequeira to conclude her statements, and wished for “Kum ba yah” between the two counsels.

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About The Author

Natalia is a fourth year at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Sociology and minoring in Public Affairs. She looks forward to attending law school in the future, where she hopes to advocate for immigrant rights and/or environmental justice.

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