By Michael Apfel
MODESTO, CA – The defense urged Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Carrie Stephens to grant an additional court date in January of 2023 to resolve a felony possession for sales of methamphetamine case, arguing her client needed time to find secure housing before he agreed to reach a deal with the prosecution.
On June 23, 2021, the accused allegedly committed a felony by possessing methamphetamine for sale in violation of California Health and Safety Code.
Vita Palazuelos, the Deputy District Attorney, submitted his case for a ruling, prompting Judge Stephens to ask defense counsel what specific obstacles to settlement there were.
“[The accused] is currently homeless,” said the defense attorney. “The offer in this case would be a plea to the felony for credit for time served, and he would be placed on two years felony probation. He has a job already, and he’s trying to gather funds so he can obtain consistent housing.”
The defense argued she planned on eventually agreeing to a deal with the prosecution, but she was concerned the consequences of a deal would be best dealt with by the accused at a time when he had a reliable living situation.
“He expects that it is going to make being on probation easier rather than being on transient formal probation, which has a different reporting schedule,” said the defense attorney.
She added, “If he had a steady, consistent residence, he would have to report between the first and the fifteenth of each month. I know that when a person is transient, they have different reporting, so having him in a stable living residence is going to make it so that he’s successful on probation.”
Judge Stephens expressed sympathy for the defense’s arguments, but asked the defense if a plea deal could be reached that day.
“Moving forward, I would say that is not a waste of today’s appearance. I may feel more comfortable then putting it towards January,” said Judge Stephens.
The defense agreed those terms were acceptable, entering a no contest plea in exchange for two years formal felony probation and a $205 crime lab fee. Judge Stephens waived the accused’s $615 drug program fee due to the accused’s inability to pay, with sentencing in January.