Homeless Man Asks Court to Move Sentencing to 2023 to Find Secure Housing; Judge Urges Deal but Agrees to Delay Sentencing

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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, Daniel Perez 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.

“[Perez] 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 Perez 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 Perez’s $615 drug program fee due to the accused’s inability to pay, with sentencing in January.

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About The Author

Michael Apfel is a second year at USC majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Sports Media Industries. He plans on law school after his undergraduate studies looking to work in social justice.

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