Judge Unable to Grant Victim’s Request to Prohibit Slander from Her Husband

By Daniella Dueñas and Wayne Chan

WOODLAND, CA— A woman requested a Yolo County Superior Court judge order her husband not to slander or defame her character to their community because she feared it would jeopardize her ability to stay in the community. Judge David W. Reed said he didn’t have the legal power to do so.

The accused is charged with a felony of threatening to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury, with the intent to terrorize.

Initially, the accused denied the right to have a lawyer appointed to represent him.

The accused stated his wife, the victim, had sent an email to discharge the complaint she filed, and the accused was under the impression that because his wife no longer wanted to press charges, he would not be tried in court.

Judge Reed explained, “If she hasn’t spoken to the district attorney’s office, she should. But she does not control whether this charge goes forward. That’s out of her hands once it goes to the police and the district attorney. So while her input will be considered, she does not have the right to say, ‘don’t charge it’ or ‘charge it differently.’”

Judge Reed then asked, “Would you like the court to appoint you a lawyer? Probably a good idea. This is a serious charge if it is proven.”

The accused agreed to have a lawyer appointed, and Deputy Public Defender James Bradford, appointed to represent the accused, pleaded not guilty for his client.

Judge Reed stated he was inclined to release the accused on his own recognizance with no bail or supervised OR and that he would only place a protective order if it was what the victim wanted.

Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays agreed to both of those options and requested a “no harassing” criminal protective order, adding, “The victim is present and would like to speak to you. She is asking for no type of criminal protective order whatsoever.”

Judge Reed released the accused on OR and asked the victim, “Is there anything you would like to tell the court today?”

The victim standing behind a podium near her husband, reaffirmed what Hays previously stated. “I just want to drop the case,” she said.  “The only thing I’m asking is that I don’t want any harassment for the future. But I wanna drop the complaint.”

“This is not your complaint in a legal sense,” Judge Reed said, noting, “You made a police report. The police filed a police report, the District Attorney decided that based on the facts they thought there were facts to support filing a charge.”

The judge suggested another hearing where the victim could testify,

The victim, however, seemed to be very concerned about her reputation and the aftermath of this case if it did not get dropped.

“We are from the Middle East. And for those people, if a husband talks not good stuff about his wife, it’s like something I need to face in the future,” she urged, “I need to live in this community, I need to live with them.”

Despite the sense of seriousness in her tone, there was no legal way Judge Reed said he could stop any of what the victim feared might happen in her community. The reluctant victim also did not agree with the issuance of any criminal protective or harassment protective order.

“My words to you are a court order,” Judge Reed echoed, “You can expect to be asked to testify that day.”

A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 24.

About The Author

Wayne Chan is a 4th year philosophy student at University at California, Davis. He has a passion for reading and writing. After graduation, he wishes to pursue a career in law.

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