Accused Sent Back to Jail by Judge because There’s No Room in Residential Treatment Program

By Ivan Villegas

WOODLAND, CA – A man here in Yolo County Superior Court this week, who pleaded no contest to resisting and obstructing an executive officer with force, was sent back to county jail by the judge—even though the prosecutor didn’t oppose release—because there was no room to place him in a promised residential treatment facility.

The visiting judge, Judge Thomas Smith, said that until the next court date “the court will order that the defendant be remanded to the custody of the sheriff, ordered held at $50,000 bail.”

However, the judge added, “if there is a space available at Granite Wellness [a residential treatment program], the defendant may be released on supervised OR [own recognizance]. Supervised by the probation department.”

Before Judge Smith came to this decision, he asked both the attorneys present about the nature of the plea offer.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Bulkeley began explaining, “This is going to be a deferred entry of judgment on the one count that’s being pled to, contingent upon… [the accused] completing the mental health court program. The other two remaining cases and counts would be dismissed[.]”

The other cases, both misdemeanors for vandalism, would be dismissed as well as the remaining counts on the case the accused was pleading to.

Deputy Public Defender Joseph Gocke added his client “will also be admitting that there could be factors in aggravation. There isn’t a stipulation to it but it just opens the possibility of him receiving the upper term if things don’t go as hoped for in mental health court.”

DDA Bulkeley then continued explaining that “in order to go to our mental health court or addiction prevention court, there needs to be a plea. Either deferred entry of judgment, which is a form of diversion, or they go in on probation…(the accused) needs to be successful in at least 30 days in Granite Wellness…to be officially accepted into mental health court.”

DDA Bulkeley informed the judge the accused “was previously in our department of state hospital’s diversion program but was not successful in that program,” adding, “We’re trying to find a different alternative for him where he’d be successful.”

“Hopefully you’ll never be sentenced in this case, hopefully you’ll be received into the deferred entry of judgment program… and ultimately the case will be dismissed. [But] sometimes that doesn’t happen and you would have to be sentenced on this,” said the judge.

The judge then confirmed with both attorneys that all other charges would be dropped and asked if they needed to set a review hearing.

DDA Bulkeley stated they did not, but after DPD Gocke interjected with “the jail will let him out right now if there is no future court appearance,” both attorneys agreed for a future review hearing for a status update on the accused’s application into the residential program.

DDA Bulkeley suggested the accused be released under the supervision of probation, but Judge Smith instead ordered the accused back into the sheriff’s custody on bail, pending availability in the residential treatment program.

Before moving on, DPD Gocke informed the judge that they would like to amend a protective order against the accused, from a no contact order to a no harassment order, noting, “I think there’s a protective order involving his mother. I just want to make sure it said no harassing not a no contact. She’s contacted me several times, she wants to have contact with [him].”

Judge Smith made the changes, telling the accused, “I’m ordering you on good behavior… you may have contact with her,” and set the review hearing for May 9.

About The Author

Ivan Villegas (he/him) is a criminal justice graduate from CSU Sacramento. He wishes to continue his studies in law school starting in fall 2023. He is interested in immigration and international law, and hopes to use his degree for a career as an immigration attorney.

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