COURT WATCH: District Attorney Fails to File Formal Accusation of Probation Violation; Court Works It Out

By Ivan Villegas

WOODLAND, CA – In an arraignment for an alleged violation of probation here in Yolo County Superior Court Tuesday, it was revealed that a formal accusation of a violation of probation had not, in fact, been filed.

The hearing began with a different case, in which the accused was a co-defendant. Both co-defendants agreed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of shoplifting and had the remaining charges dropped.

Judge Thomas Smith issued a stipulated sentence of one year of summary probation and 30 days in the Yolo County Jail, but with credits for time served it would total 22 more days, and stayed the execution of jail until May 15 to give the accused time to apply to alternative sentencing programs at the jail.

Judge Smith then turned to the violation of probation hearing after Deputy District Attorney Caryn Warren noted that the hearing was trailing.

At this, the accused interjected, “I don’t get that, because I’m not even on probation.”

Judge Smith then went through court documents, and read back the conditions of probation to the accused in this past case, noting, “Do you remember being placed on probation now? Have we refreshed your recollection?”

The accused said he remembered being placed on probation from that case, but added, “I just this year got off probation…Earlier this year, I’ve been going to probation and have been in contact with them and been released.”

The judge then handed the defense a copy of the conditions of probation and Judge Smith was surprised to find that there was no signature of the accused on it, only the previous judge’s signature.

Judge Smith remarked “even if he signed it or didn’t sign the order of probation, I see that’s what the court ordered.”

Looking for the violation, the judge turned to the attorneys: “So what is the defendant accused of violating, what provision of his probation?”

DDA Warren responded that no, “I don’t see one on the file.”

Judge Smith then said he was prepared to drop the case from the calendar, “subject to the People filing a formal accusatory pleading.”

It was then that Defense Attorney James Granucci interjected, “as a part of this plea bargain, the DA indicates that they will not file a violation of probation in that misdemeanor case, because of the punishment given in this case, the 30 days (in custody).”

“We don’t have to come back, we don’t have to have another warrant, we don’t have to have another arrest,” added Granucci.

To this, DDA Warren rejected, asking instead of the accused: “Why don’t you just admit a violation of probation in this case for concurrent time?”

The defense ceded to this request, and the accused admitted the violation in order to be reinstated on probation and serve the punishment concurrent with the time spent in custody on the shoplifting matter.

As Judge Smith summarized to the accused: “If you [the accused] admit this charge of violation of probation for failure to obey all laws, the court will revoke your probation, reinstate it, order that you serve 30 days in the county jail. Instead of 30 days I’ll make it 22 days with credit for no time served, but concurrent.”

Judge Smith then reinstated the probation “under all the original terms and conditions, with the modification now that [the accused] shall serve 22 days in the Yolo County Jail to be served concurrently with the 30-day sentence that has been imposed.”

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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