Judge Gives Attorney High Mark for Fighting for Client – But Rules against Him

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By Nicole Mayer

WOODLAND, CA – Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso fought hard to save his client $125, but despite the judge’s B-Plus grade, lost his argument in a case here in Yolo County Superior Court Monday.

John James Britt faces multiple misdemeanors in two cases, including destroying evidence and vandalism, indecent exposure and resisting/obstructing a peace officer. The court didn’t directly deal with other felony charge(s).

At the start of the trial setting conference for a preliminary hearing, Judge Stephen Mock first addressed PD Borruso.

Judge Mock made it clear due to a previous missed court date, the accused’s bail was forfeited, but PD Borruso explained he contacted the bail agent, claiming they were ready to reassume bail.

Borruso also confirmed the court’s understanding the bail agent didn’t realize Britt was on bail for two other misdemeanors as well.

Judge Mock then set aside the forfeiture, recalled any warrants previously issued, and agreed to reinstate one bail in exchange for the accused promise to return for his next court dates.

In terms of setting the next preliminary hearing in regard to the felony cases, the defense requested two weeks, assuming they were within the 60-day limitation. PD Borruso explained Britt’s absence at the previous hearing, claiming he mixed up the dates.

Once Judge Mock had confirmed he was within the 60 days, Deputy District Attorney Karen Warren expressed her unhappiness, noting she was present that day and ready to move forward. She expressed that “…due to his failure to appear, his 60 days is waived.”

But, after clearing it up, the defense and prosecutor agreed to the hearing for two weeks.

Judge Mock agreed and addressed DDA Warren, saying she can wait or trail the case to this week and “…you can prove to me I made a mistake. It’s up to you.”

Because he has to start a homicide trial in two weeks, PD Borruso requested the court set the preliminary hearing in four weeks, with a limited time waiver of two weeks. 

Judge Mock confirmed Britt’s agreement that he can waive his right to a hearing within 60 days, and he would set the matter for the hearing date for Nov. 14, with a limited time waiver to Nov. 28.

Judge Mock said he needed the accused’s reassumption fee of $125, especially since the bail was reinstated.

PD Borruso asked if he could make an argument to waive the reassumption fee, in which Judge Mock flatly responded “I could not preclude you from making an argument, but I would find it unlikely that it would be persuasive. I can’t think of any scenario that would warrant waiving the reassumption fee, even if your client is homeless, and he doesn’t look homeless to me.”

In an attempt to waive the fee, PD Borruso explained the pandemic adjustments of the court, and how the electronic shift of the court calendar and minute orders are one of the reasons Britt did not appear in court previously.

Judge Mock denied Borruso’s request, requiring the accused must pay the reassumption fee by the end of the day.

In his final remarks, PD Borruso claimed he gave his best efforts in his argument, in which Judge Mock replied, “I would give you a B plus.”

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About The Author

Nicole Mayer is a second year student at UC Davis, pursuing a degree in Economics. She is passionate about advocating for others and truthful reporting. She intends to attend law school after completing her undergraduate degree.

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