Despite ‘Homelessness,’ Inclement Weather, Court Delays Decision in Alleged Parole Misdemeanor Case

By Audrey Sawyer and Hailey Cairns

WOODLAND, CA – A man recently now facing revocation of parole because he allegedly didn’t register as a sex offender, a misdemeanor, will be left homeless, stranded in cold, wet weather because of the Court’s action, said his public defender here in Yolo County Superior Court last week.

Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso requested the Court examine the validity of Condition Eight, which addresses contact with minors, asking it to allow the accused to live with his sister and nephew, 16, in Sacramento, although that would violate Condition Eight. He noted exceptions can be made if done in writing and approved by a unit supervisor. 

The accused was recently released on parole after 14 years in prison following a felony conviction in a gang rape case.

In the hearing, it was learned, in the felony case, the accused approached a woman at a BART station, and asked if she wanted to “make money.” Following this, a friend of his came and took her to an abandoned building, and then they raped her. There were allegations of attempts at human trafficking, which was referenced as the reason why the accused could not be around minors (those under the age of 18). 

The Court noted the state is able to determine where the victim is allowed to live, and chose Yolo County, because the accused is prohibited from living in the county he committed his crime in, Alameda County. 

However, Borruso argued he was asking for the accused to be able to return to Alameda county, to live with his nephew, noting “My client is…basically being forced into homelessness (by) forcing him to stay in this county he is just going to be living in the streets.”

Judge Sonia Cortes asked if the accused received any housing assistance, and was informed he is on multiple housing waitlists, but they are unwilling to take him. The parole agent stipulated the accused refused a previous housing offer in the summer because it was too far from his job.  

Deputy District Attorney Casper Gorner said he understands the accused is in a motel, arguing, the “running theme” that the accused is out of money may not be exactly true, and “the money situation is not as severe” as the PD suggests.

Responding to Gorner’s statement, Borruso reminds the court that his client does not have a job, is on the wait list of many housing organizations, and cannot stay in a homeless shelter because of his legal status. 

“His family is trying to help him with staying in motels and is helping on a night-to-night basis,” added Borruso, arguing the plan wasn’t sustainable, and “He did his 14 years, he is now out on parole and he is out of custody…but the plan will never be successful unless he has constant housing (and) Yolo County is not that. We are not asking him back to Alameda, or to see any minors other than a family member, just this one exception.”

Judge Sonia Cortes requested that they hold another hearing, once they receive an “affinity test,” but PD Borruso claimed the test had been done in 2021, but there was a delay in collecting the result, and meanwhile, the accused will not have the opportunity to be housed with his sister and nephew, which the public defender said is a strong option for his rehabilitation, and future prevention of criminal activity. 

While Parole Agent Jennifer Martinez recommended a two-week continuance, PD Borruso requested they come back (last) Friday because of the weather events. But Martinez pointed out the accused was provided opportunities and had managed to fail those programs. 

At the end of the hearing, Borruso also noted priority for housing waitlists would go to residents in the county first. Therefore, his client would not receive housing priority, further putting the accused at a disadvantage. 

Despite the urgency to come back sooner in order to the accused is housed, as noted by PD Borruso, the next hearing is scheduled Jan. 27

About The Author

Audrey is a senior at UC San Diego majoring in Political Science (Comparative Politics emphasis). After graduation, Audrey plans on attending graduate school and is considering becoming a public defender.

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