By Roni Ayalon and Ramneet Singh
WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Daniel Wolk arraigned a man here this week on two cases, setting total bail at $55,000 despite the absence of a violent offense and the accused being homeless.
The court records show a misdemeanor case with four separate counts from 2019. The charges are: driving under the influence, drunk driving, possession of narcotic paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license.
There was a failure to appear in Oct. 2019 and a warrant was issued, which was cleared the day before the current hearing.
The records also show a felony case with six counts from this year. This includes felony possession of controlled substance, transportation/selling of narcotic controlled substance, possession of controlled substance for sale and transportation/selling of controlled substance.
There was misdemeanor suspended license and unlawful possession of paraphernalia used to inject/smoke charges with a prior felony enhancement.
After pleading not guilty for his client to the counts, Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzales noted probation’s supervised own recognized report, stating “in looking at his criminal history, it’s not as bad as it seems when you just see a bunch of listed felonies.”
He pointed out prior convictions were over 10 or even approximately 20 years ago.
Gonzales noted that most of them, excluding one in 2010, are within Sacramento County. He continued, “We’ve done a better job of keeping track of people who are Prop 47 eligible” than those in Sacramento.
Gonzales continued by stating that certain felony convictions should be reduced to misdemeanors. Gonzales noted a lack of “convictions for violence.”
He stated the accused “is experiencing homelessness” and lives mainly within Sacramento County.
Gonzales said “he is most concerned about the fact that he has this trailer that is unattended and he’d like to be released if for nothing else than to be able to move that so he doesn’t lose the only belongings he has.”
The DPD emphasized his client “doesn’t have the ability to pay.”
Gonzales said the accused would accept drug treatment, adding, “I see this as a way for (the accused) to engage with probation, receive the drug treatment that he needs, and at the age of 58…it’s not too late for him to turn it around.”
Gonzales finished by asking for an SOR release with conditions.
Deputy District Attorney Melinda Aiello wasn’t convinced by Gonzales’ argument and expressed concern over any type of release. She pointed to the probation department’s assessment of the accused and said that “he scored the highest possible score.”
She added he is a repeat offender and that “he does have a fairly consistent criminal history involving the use and/or possession for sale of narcotics and he is, of course, accused of possession for sale of narcotics.”
DDA Aiello was further concerned the accused failed to appear on a DUI charge in 2019, which she said “is a public safety risk.”
Aiello reminded the court the accused has a case in Sutter County, which also has a pending warrant.
She also pointed out “he does not have what sounds like a confirmed address,” using both as evidence to say that “the People are not persuaded that non-financial means would ensure the defendant’s appearance in court and/or public safety.”
She noted that one of the substances he was accused of possessing for sale was fentanyl, which is “extremely dangerous to those who ingest it.”
After inquiring about the bail amount, Judge Wolk decided to set bail based on “the high risk level, noting the extensive criminal record, the serious nature of at least these two offenses, and the history of failing to appear, including on this very misdemeanor case.”
Judge Wolk set a $50,000 bail for the felony case and $5,000 for the misdemeanor case, “pursuant to the (court) schedule.”
Judge Wolk set the felony case “for a prehearing conference/preliminary hearing” and the misdemeanor case “for a pretrial conference” for Feb. 7.