Judicial Diversion Denied for ‘Impressive’ College Grad with No Criminal Record in Reckless Driving Case

By Michael Apfel & Kimberly Torres

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Tom Dyer this week praised a young college grad, but denied the judicial diversion motion made by the defense in a case involving one count of misdemeanor reckless driving.

Deputy Public Defender Cheyanne Martin cited the accused’s good community standing in her argument in favor of an alternative to traditional criminal prosecution.

Said Martin, “I just would like to point out to the court that (accused)…has no criminal record whatsoever. She was a system impacted youth in the fact that her parents were impacted by the system. She now dedicates her life to serving the community. She is the exact sort of candidate for judicial diversion that I think the statute was created for…”

The defense counsel added the nonviolent nature of the offense as evidence against criminal prosecution, explaining, “I think that what we recommend for judicial diversion would be more than adequate in order to prevent any future similar driving patterns…this was a nonviolent traffic related incident…I think she is a fantastic candidate for judicial diversion.”

Judge Dyer stated he had read both briefs from the defense and Deputy District Attorney Sherri Bridgeforth, and commended the accused’s lack of a criminal record and good community standing.

“You don’t have a criminal record, and that’s to your credit. You also are a college graduate and have a very bright future ahead of you. I’m balancing that with the maturity of a college graduate, the work it takes to become a college graduate, the discipline, and all that goes into that. It’s very impressive,” said Judge Dyer.

But, he said, it was not enough to change his mind about the nature of the offense, noting the  specifics of the violation, and expressing his concerns about the severity of the infraction.

“I’m balancing that with I-80 and driving 80 mph, and it’s an area where there are quite often extreme incidents and fatalities. I-80 is filled with it. You have several unsafe lane changes almost causing traffic collisions with a couple of cars, cutting people off at five in the afternoon, and extremely dangerous driving behavior,” argued the judge.

“I’m balancing where you are as an individual and what this is. It’s a high level of public safety risk. You’re lucky to be here, to be frank, in light of driving on the interstate in an extremely reckless manner with an extreme lack of thought towards anyone else,” added Judge Dyer.

The motion for diversion was denied by Judge Dyer, who said it was too great a public safety risk. He scheduled Jan. 25, 2023, in Yolo County Superior Court Dept. 7 to further discuss future proceedings.

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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