‘No Room’ for Accused in State Hospital – Judge Postpones Hearing

By Daniella Dueñas

WOODLAND, CA – In Yolo County Superior Court last week, the accused appeared on Zoom, clad in a black suit and red tie—his hearing would conclude about where he would be placed, now that he is released on his own recognizance.

About two years ago, he was accused of a felony, threatening to commit a crime, and then a year after was charged with a misdemeanor. Now that he is out of custody on his own recognizance, the court ruled he must enroll in a state hospital.

“That is all correct and that is still happening,” affirmed Public Defender Jonathan Opet, who also appeared on the Zoom call, with a very starry background behind him. “It’s an ongoing process. My request is to continue everything until Nov. 9.”

But Judge Peter M. Williams had a question, asking, “What’s going to happen between now and then?”

“Well, I’m hoping that a spot in a diversion program…will be available (for the accused),” replied Opet, who added the hospital had previously been at capacity and that there was hope with a recent expansion.

Judge Williams turned to Deputy District Attorney Jesse Vaughn Richardson to confirm Nov. 9 as the date to re-discuss placement for the accused, but Richardson admitted, “I guess I’m a little confused about what’s happening in terms of placement.”

Judge Williams repeated the facts of the case, explaining PD Opet is looking into a possible alternative in the event a spot does not open for the accused in the state hospital.

PD Opet added, “(State hospitals) for years have been backlogged with defendants waiting placement. Of course, those in custody, I assume take preference. So there is no spot at this time available. And the fact that he’s out of custody kind of supports an alternative to the state hospital.”

Judge Williams confirmed the date of Nov. 9 to reassess available placement for the accused, and added, “If somebody can speak with Mr. Opet so everyone’s on the same page next time we come in, we can have an intelligent conversation about it,” declared Judge Williams.

The hearing ended with the fate of the man’s placement imminent, yet inconclusive.

About The Author

Daniella Dueñas is a recent graduate from the University of California, Davis. She double-majored in Political Science and Sociology, with an emphasis on law and society. Her interest is primarily in immigration law, however, she is also interested in criminal law and justice. Daniella plans to attend law school in the future, but is working towards getting a certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program.

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