Judge Cites Criminal History, Denies Defense Request So Man Could Receive Cataract Surgery from Personal Doctor

By Michael Apfel

MODESTO, CA – A man—with the court showing major concern for his criminal record—was denied a special waiver here in Stanislaus County Superior Court late last week, despite the accused’s attorney arguing the client needed to have cataract surgery.

The defense filed the request for a “Cruz waiver,” citing the man’s concern for his cataracts potentially damaging his eyesight while he awaited trial.

Evidence was presented by doctors confirming the diagnosis, along with concerns from the accused’s family about his eyesight.

“He’s afraid of going to prison and losing more of his vision in the process while he’s waiting to receive that treatment,” the defense attorney said. “When I spoke to his family, they did have a doctor, a specialist, who would be willing to get him an appointment, so he could do that out of custody.”

While a personal doctor was preferred by the accused, Judge Carrie Stephens pointed out after denying the request that medical care could be accessed by the accused while he was in custody awaiting trial.

“I know that he could get those services and treatment in prison, so I am not compelled that he should be released from custody,” Judge Stephens said.

Judge Stephen’s explained she was unsure of the legality of granting a Cruz waiver in this particular case, saying it was reserved for agreements between the prosecution and defense.

“What I have normally seen in Cruz waivers is that they are an agreement between the parties,” Judge Stephens said. “ I would not be willing to grant that Cruz waiver and to allow him to be released. I don’t know if that’s even lawful without that being a part of the negotiated disposition.”

In the event a Cruz waiver were legal in this instance, the judge still expressed concerns about the accused’s former conduct preventing her from accepting the defense’s request.

“Even if that were lawful, I would not be inclined to do it because of (the accused’s) criminal history and the fact that he was out of custody on this case before and a law violation occurred at that time,” Judge Stephens said.

The prosecution, led by Deputy District Attorney Vita Palazuelos, scheduled future proceedings for sentencing with the defense after this matter was finished.

About The Author

Michael Apfel is a second year at USC majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Sports Media Industries. He plans on law school after his undergraduate studies looking to work in social justice.

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