COURT WATCH: Disabled Man Surrenders Potentially Self-Incriminating Electronic Data in Exchange for Necessary Medical Care

By Jonathan Lewis

SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento County Superior Court Commissioner Alin Cintean released a disabled man on pretrial supervision last Friday after granting a defense motion citing the accused’s extensive medical needs.

However, the accused agreed to extraordinary terms to secure his release so that he can receive the required medical care the accused’s family claims the jail cannot provide.

The accused, who appeared at his felony arraignment in a wheelchair, is charged with possession of a firearm by someone convicted of a felony, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, and possession of marijuana for the purpose of sale.

The terms of his release include wearing a GPS monitor at all times and allowing his person, property, vehicle, and residence to be searchable without a warrant.

However, Commissioner Cintean felt these were not enough to “ensure the safety of the public as well as [the accused’s] return to court.”

“Given the allegations of marijuana sales, I am also going to impose a condition that, pursuant to Penal Code 1546, that means on top of your person, property, vehicle, residence, I am going to impose a condition that you shall provide access to any electronic devices,” said the commissioner.

Cintean added, “That means phones, laptops, tablets, computers, and those will be subject to search and seizure, including the data contained therein, and you shall provide access to those electronic storage devices and data therein, including providing passwords or any other methods of accessing that data.”

With the accused’s medical condition on the line, Commissioner Cintean told the accused, “You will have one chance and one chance only to be released on pretrial supervision. If you are to violate even one condition, you will be brought back into custody and you will have no bail.”

Commissioner Cintean said, in effect, he was doing a favor by granting the defense’s motion for pretrial supervision, stating, “I am going to, over the People’s objection, grant this, again very unusually, given the charges and record.”

After reading all the terms, Commissioner Cintean made sure the accused understood them by saying, “And you are making this decision that is, again, very unusual, in light of the medical needs that you suffer from and that you have at this point. And I do hope that the conditions that are now in place will ensure the safety of the public as well as your return back to court.”

Deputy District Attorney Anissa Galata argued against the accused’s release, stating, “I am very concerned for public safety based on his criminal history and the current charges.”

DDA Galata stated the accused has two prior strike convictions and a “significant criminal history” dating back to 2007, where he was sentenced to 13 years in state prison for possession of stolen property and burglary. In 2014, the accused was sentenced to 32 months in state prison for participating in a gang that engages in felonious criminal activity.

And, the DDA added, in 2016, the accused had two parole violations, and in 2018 was convicted of possession of a firearm by someone convicted of a felony and was sentenced to four years in state prison.

DDA Galata also detailed the incident leading up to his arrest, alleging officers were investigating a “hand-to-hand drug transaction for marijuana sales” and obtained a search warrant for the accused’s vehicle where they found a .40 caliber handgun with eight rounds of live ammunition and one live round in the chamber. DDA Galata also alleged that the accused was in possession of half a pound of marijuana.

About The Author

Jonathan is a second year student at UC Davis majoring in Managerial Economics and minoring in Political Science and History.

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