COURT WATCH: Man in Jail for More Than Month for Minor Violation of Parole Found Incompetent to Continue with Proceedings – Still Awaiting Freedom 

By Cynthia Hoang-Duong

WOODLAND, CA – Judge Samuel T. McAdam expressed his willingness to grant Deputy Public Defender Joseph Gocke’s request to dismiss his client’s violation of parole, but the decision was postponed last Friday here in Yolo County Superior Court until the court received permission from parole.

A month earlier, the accused violated his parole because he did not respond to probation’s phone call in time because his GPS was not charged.

Friday morning, the court received a 1368 (Penal Code § 1368 on competency) report regarding his mental competency that declared him not competent.

If the court adopts the report’s finding, the DPD stated, under Penal Code section 1370.02(b), it should dismiss the violation. Because he is currently in custody, Gocke asked the court to adopt the doctor’s report and release the accused to parole.

Deputy District Attorney Alex Kian was hesitant to concede to the DPD’s request, noting he had issues with the doctor’s report.

DDA Kian maintained that if the court adheres to the report, there must be additional restrictive options established, such as appropriate terms for supervision and mental health components.

The prosecutor contested the report, arguing that the assessments and conclusions made by the doctor were not based on her interactions with the accused, who had refused to participate.

The DDA argued a dismissal without considering additional terms would be “premature,” and requested Judge McAdam set a contested hearing for the court to acquire more information.

DPD Gocke explained the accused has been in custody since Apr. 13. The defense also had received documents during the discovery that parole had mental health components attached to his terms and conditions of parole.

The public defender admitted that the mental health terms may not be able to adequately address the accused’s ongoing conditions, but concluded, “The bottom line is he’s sitting in jail, waiting for this to go on. And we all kind of see where this is ultimately going to land, on a violation that wasn’t egregious.”

Regarding the prosecution’s concerns about the accused’s lack of participation, the DPD explained that he was not participating due to his mental health. Further, the doctor also reviewed his records, and therefore, his refusal was not the foundation of her opinion.

DDA Kian insisted the court has not had enough time to dissect the report, although the judge noted there is an urgency to the case.

In response, the DDA suggested that if the court wanted to address the matter expeditiously, the judge can set it to later in the afternoon to allow him to find appropriate options for the accused. The judge agreed because of the prosecution’s procedural rights and tentatively ruled in agreement with the defense’s request.

Labeling the violation as a “minor infraction,” Judge McAdam elaborated, “If he had just picked up, the fact that he had a charging violation on his GPS wouldn’t have been a big deal at all, wouldn’t have been violated. But he just didn’t pick up that phone in time.”

Later in the day, the case was recalled with the judge ruling to release the accused, subject to mental health treatment and direct supervision.

However, because neither party had given notice to parole of the hearing, the court could not proceed with the dismissal. This is because under the Penal Code cited, the court cannot modify the terms of supervision without parole.

Therefore, the judge instructed the prosecution and defense to continue to confer and inform parole of the next hearing.

In the meantime, the accused remains in custody.

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