Court Admits It Missed Something, Then Rejects Diversion Motion in Domestic Violence Case

By Citlalli Florez

MODESTO, CA – The judge denied a motion here in Stanislaus County Superior Court Wednesday for diversion requested by a man in a misdemeanor case in which he is being accused of domestic violence against his mother, and a driving under the influence violation.

The court—after admitting it missed something in October of 2022 —said it denied diversion in the domestic violence case because the legal code excludes diversion in instances of domestic violence.

Judge Ruben Villalobos noted he must have missed something earlier in the case when he agreed to grant diversion because the accused completed his Alcoholics Anonymous requirements and promised to complete a rehabilitation program.

Deputy District Attorney Viridiana Raya stated, “I believe that these cases are disqualified (from diversion because of) the relationship between the victim and the defendant; it’s his mother.”

The judge responded, “OK, so somehow that was missed by me the last time around. This is a domestic violence related offense.”

The judge reviewed the statute, citing from the penal code that “the defendant may not be offered diversion pursuant to this section under the following circumstances…any cases involving domestic violence as defined…in the family code…or in this code.”

Each penal code was reviewed one at a time. The code relating to the current case says that “domestic violence is abuse perpetrated by any of the following persons: any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.”

Judge Villalobos stated this would certainly encompass one’s mother, and Deputy Public Defender Jovana Torres stated she was going to submit on that point.

Finally, the judge ruled that “the court agrees that this case is not eligible for diversion and so therefore the court is denying the request or motion.”

The defense agreed to an April 4 court date, and the cases were reassigned to a different judge.

About The Author

Citlalli Florez is a 4th year undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently majoring in Legal Studies, Chicana/o Studies, and Art Practice. She intends to attend law school in the future with the purpose of gaining skills to further serve her community.

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