By Kaveh Nasseri
MODESTO, CA – Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Carrie Stephens this week denied a request to release the accused from custody pretrial because he was homeless and in an unstable employment situation—he also has a longstanding pattern of missing his court dates, all of them, claimed the judge.
The accused, charged with a felony for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, had missed several court dates for previous misdemeanor cases, according to the court, and while the defense acknowledged this fact, they argued the accused missed appointments because he was homeless and had lost his paperwork.
According to the defense, the accused was found with the concealed dirk or dagger at “a makeshift homeless camp,” and he had no major criminal history apart from these recent cases. There was also no alleged victim in the case.
According to the defense, the accused had started a new forklifting job three weeks ago, working part time for 30 hours a week. The defense claimed his employment would stabilize his living situation and requested a release from custody.
Prosecuting attorney Vita Palazuelos argued against the release, claiming the accused had multiple bench warrants for misdemeanors. She also claimed that he possessed “questionable weaponry” such as flying knives and daggers.
Judge Stephens, citing a warrant that had been issued in 2008 for not appearing in court, claimed that the accused’s absences marked “a pattern 19 years in the making.”
The judge argued the accused had missed every case he had been required to attend, and claimed that steps could have been taken to ensure that he had been present on those occasions. “I don’t feel like (the accused) has really left me any choice,” Stephens added.