Homeless Defendant Struggles to Appear to Court on Time from Out of Town – Judge Ignores Problems Moving Forward

By Gracy Joslin

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Peter Williams rejected the request for straight no bail with unsupervised release for a public defender client this week, reinstating supervised release and ignoring transportation issues for a homeless, out-of-town woman.

The accused was scheduled to appear Wednesday morning in Yolo Dept. 8, but failed to do so on time because of lack of transportation from downtown Sacramento, said the defense. Thus, a bench warrant was issued.

The accused is being charged with two misdemeanors, including petty theft and vandalism, along with a felony for conspiracy to commit a felony.

Once she finally arrived in court, a little before noon, the stand-in public defender explained to the court why the accused was unable to appear on time in court, noting “she is experiencing housing insecurity and she does live in downtown Sacramento, so that is why she’s late.”

The PD asked the court to recall the bench warrant and set a new trial setting date so the accused’s assigned attorney, Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso, could appear.

In response, Judge Williams said it was good the accused finally appeared, and recalled the warrants, but told her “don’t miss any other court dates… I know it’s hard, but you have to plan way ahead I guess.”

Instead of giving her two weeks to appear in court next, the judge gave her four weeks so she can “plan ahead” and make it to her next court date of March 20.

The stand-in public defender further requested the accused be released without bail, because, “since she is homeless it is difficult for her to report and be in contact with probation.”

Judge Williams said he would “probably need a little more information than that.”

The Yolo County deputy DA, who did not introduce himself, said he would request straight OR be denied.

Moreover, he said he wanted the accused on supervised OR, apparently ignoring the fact that supervised OR will be more difficult for the accused to abide by given the fact she is homeless, does not have reliable transportation and is not in Yolo County.

The DDA added “in reading notes from the officer who was supposed to be supervising her for the last nine months, I don’t think the officer has ever been able to have face-to-face contact with her.”

Judge Williams told the accused to walk three blocks over to probation for a check-in once court is wrapped up so she can figure out a way to stay in contact with her probation officer. Then he reinstated supervised release, warning the accused if she didn’t comply, she could end up in jail.

He set the accused’s next hearing for March 20 at 9 a.m.

About The Author

Gracy is a 4th Year at UC Davis studying Political Science and minoring in Communications and Sociology. Post graduation plans include traveling and then eventually attending Law School.

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