By Cynthia Hoang-Duong
WOODLAND, CA – A man appearing by Zoom and facing allegations last week here of violating probation again found himself stymied when ordered to appear in court in person, because he did not have transportation from his residence in another county to Yolo County Superior Court.
The accused, charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence, appeared in court remotely via Zoom for his probation violation hearing.
He was placed on probation for the charges in June 2022. As a part of his probation, he was ordered to complete 14 days in county jail.
Deputy District Attorney Alvina G. Tzang explained the accused had previously violated his probation because he failed to serve the 14 days and was charged with public intoxication during his probation period.
She reminded the court that in Dec. of 2022 the accused admitted to violating his probation on the condition that his public intoxication charge would be dismissed and his probation would be amended to add six months of wearing a SCRAM device.
However, because he failed to fulfill the prongs of his probation again, the DDA demanded he contact probation immediately to have the SCRAM device installed.
Defense Attorney Christopher Conde explained the accused needed to have the probation transferred to Solano County, his place of residence.
The DDA refused because, she said, transferring probation required too much time, adding the accused was placed on supervised probation so that he did not have to pay for the SCRAM device. She suggested the accused pay for the device or she could convert it to jail time.
DDA Tzang disagreed, noting the accused did not have a SCRAM device.
The DDA complained, “People [are] just hiding behind the Zoom and we can’t get people remanded because when they figure out there’s a chance we’re going to be asking for a remand, they appear via Zoom. And then we have to ask the court to ask them to appear personally in court.”
The DDA also emphasized the accused had not served jail time in accordance with the probation conditions.
Defense Counsel Conde clarified that when the accused previously admitted to violating his probation, whether he completed jail time for his previous misdemeanor was not an issue.
However, and although it was not written in the minute order, Judge Daniel M. Wolk stated he would “take [Tzang’s] words” that the reinstatement of the SCRAM included the jail time.
Given the accused’s continued violation of his probation, Judge Wolk set the probation hearing for Feb. 27, subjecting the accused to the same probation conditions and ordering him to appear in person as demanded by the DDA.
The accused expressed his difficulty with attending court in person because he did not live in Yolo County and did not have transportation, asking, “How am I supposed to get over there? I’ve tried other transportation, which is the bus, but I won’t be over there until like 10 [or] 11. It’s far.”
The defense attorney offered his office’s litigation specialists to help transport him to the courthouse and reiterated that the accused must appear in court as ordered by the judge. The accused stated he was previously not aware of this resource.
At the conclusion of the violation of probation arraignment, Judge Wolk reiterated his order that the accused appear in person to the admit or deny probation hearing and that he was subject to the same conditions of probation, including the SCRAM.