Victim Recounts Experiences in Violation of Protection Order Hearing

By Matthew Torres

WOODLAND, CA – The victim of domestic abuse testified here in Yolo County Superior Court Tuesday about experiences with a former partner, who, in the pretrial hearing, is accused of a misdemeanor violation of a permanent protective order.

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin called the victim to testify about whether a diversion program would be appropriate for the accused.

Judge Timothy Fall later ruled diversion was not appropriate and the accused should stand trial.

The hearing began with the victim providing context about her relationship with the accused, noting how she lived with him for 14 months in what she described as a living relationship with daily arguments, the accused demanding she give him money, and her no longer living with him because the culmination of it all “was too much for me to take.”

Defense Counsel David Foos raised an objection as to the relevance of her testimony pertaining to the violation of protection order and Judge Fall quickly overruled it, stating “the relationship between the two of them goes directly to whether your client is amenable to a diversion program as opposed to being in prosecution… and I’m going to take all the information necessary to make that determination.”

The victim continued to describe their relationship, noting that although there was no physical violence the abuse was mental and emotional and financial. She cited multiple occasions where the accused used her personal information to open bank accounts without her knowledge or permission.

After separating, she obtained a temporary restraining order in January 2021. She told the court the reason she got the restraining order was because the accused was following her, finding her new addresses, finding her new cell phone information, and she even saw him at her daughter’s school when she dropped her off.

Additionally, the victim claimed instances where the accused approached her father and even her priest about getting them back together.

The most recent event, she said, occurred in late May where she received a letter from the bank, notifying her that someone had attempted to open another account using her information—she said the accused is the only one who would have her vital information. 

She maintained she is afraid of the accused and these experiences have ruined her relationships with her family, claiming her parents are fearful that the accused will harass them if she returns to live with them.

Defense counsel Foos focused on the temple specifically, where some of these incidents occurred. He claimed the accused regularly attended and it was agreed upon in the permanent restraining order he could continue attending, even though this was the same location as the school the victim’s daughter attends.

If the two were at the temple simultaneously, there was a no contact stipulation.

Following the witness testimony, defense counsel crafted a potential diversion program with his client where he proposed placing the accused on a program that consisted of 13 anger management classes.

Judge Fall ruled, “This does not appear to be a case where a diversion under these circumstances would work where there was emotional, financial, and mental abuse. I haven’t been presented with anything that would show how to address all of that in a way that is going to address the defendant’s issues and the rights of the victim.”

The motion for diversion was denied and trial is set for Aug. 29.

About The Author

Matthew Torres is a fourth year Criminal Justice major at California State University, Sacramento expecting to graduate in Spring 2022. After graduation he will be continuing his studies in law school.

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