Woman Voices Concern about Needing to Appear in Person

By Ramneet Singh

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Reed presided over a felony arraignment this week where the accused stated limitations in housing and transportation made it problematic for her to appear in person—and she also implied she did not commit the crime.

According to the calendar, Yolo County charged the accused with a felony “assault likely to produce great bodily injury” and misdemeanor battery charge from September 2020.

Based on a June 2021 minute order, the accused was not there for that arraignment. The timeline notes a “Declaration for arrest warrant.” According to the timeline, the warrant was cleared in June 2022 and a “notice to appear” was issued in July.

Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira represented the accused and Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays prosecuted.

The accused appeared remotely and had a background. Above her were the words “I AM INNOCENT,” “PROTECT ME,” “TRANS RIGHTS,” and “HUMANITARIAN.”

The background also included an emoji of the transgender flag and a peace sign emoji.

At the start of the hearing, Reed stated the felony charge was “assault with a deadly weapon, specifically an automobile.”

Sequeira inquired about a bail bond, but Reed replied that “there had been a warrant, she was picked on the warrant, and given a notice to appear. Reed indicated he would want to “leave her on OR (own recognizance pretrial release, no bail required).”

Sequeira concurred. Hays did not challenge that, but requested that the accused be there in person to sign OR related paperwork.

Sequeira advised the accused on about her right related to a preliminary hearing, specifically about when it should be set. Sequeira stated that “since your custody status is out of custody, we normally advise clients to waive the right to have it within 10 court days” so that they can communicate.

The accused replied, “I don’t have any way to come from where I’m from. I’m homeless and I don’t have a vehicle where I live and I’m out of state.”

Sequeira noted potential flexibility around that. Judge Reed noted that certain hearings require a physical presence and there are others where “your presence can be waived.”

The hearing moved to discussing the accused’s location. After Judge Reed asked if she was in Southern California, the accused replied, “No, I was trying to fly back home to Phoenix when they arrested me for a warrant there and you guys never came and picked me up.”

Reed stated that “it looks like you were cited by…the LA Sheriff, is that what you’re talking about?” The accused replied, “Yeah and I was flying home to Phoenix, I live in Phoenix.”

Judge Reed said the first option would involve having the “hearing within 10 court days” with a mandatory physical appearance. Reed noted that the other option would involve a court date that is “two weeks out and you may or may not have to be here on your next court…date.”

The accused maintained, “I don’t feel like I did anything wrong…I did not hit anyone.”

Judge Reed reminded the accused of how these statements could affect her in court. With this, she said, “Hey, court reporter.”

Sequeira asked for “a preliminary hearing within 10 court days please, time not waived.”

DDA Hays asked whether the accused would need to be physically present, and PD Sequeira stated, “I told her that we could appear 977 (attorney will appear for the accused) at the next court date.”

Judge Reed noted “the judge may or may not agree with that part.”

The preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 15.

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