COURT WATCH: Defense Moves to Dismiss Case after Prosecution Changes Misdemeanor to Infraction, Threatening Right to Free Counsel, Jury Trial

By Holly Werris

WOODLAND, CA – Prosecution and defense here in Yolo County Superior Court were split this week over whether or not to dismiss a man’s trespassing charge.

Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Allen had reached out to Deputy Public Defender Sarah MacDonald and agreed to reduce the accused’s trespassing charge from a misdemeanor to an infraction. MacDonald then asked Judge Tom Dyer to dismiss the case, since it was no longer a misdemeanor.

The accused, MacDonald said, “has been here at every single court date. I’d ask the court just to dismiss this in the interest of justice. Ultimately, reducing it to an infraction now subverts (the accused’s) rights to a jury trial and a right to counsel. I’d ask in the interest of efficiency and in the interest of justice just to dismiss this outright.”

MacDonald noted that in an infraction, the right to a jury trial and a free, court-appointed lawyer—guaranteed with misdemeanors and felonies —doesn’t exist.

Dyer requested a sidebar with both the prosecution and defense and called the matter back later in the day, when the judge delayed the decision to dismiss the charges, pending proof that the accused completed four hours of community service in four weeks.

DDA Allen objected, saying, “The facts of this case at least warrant an infraction.” She affirmed the accused’s right to a trial. Allen also brought up the accused’s statements on the case, describing them as “essentially hearsay,” and being no basis to dismiss the case.

The court will reconvene on Sept. 6.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for