COURT WATCH: Public Defender Tries to ‘Break Cycle’ of Unhoused Man’s Multiple Arrests,  Cites Violation of Due Process – Judge Isn’t Convinced

By Madison Whittemore

WOODLAND, CA – Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez requested the court move forward with a homeless man’s case, citing a violation of due process, rather than acceding to the prosecution’s plea for a continuance Tuesday here in Yolo County Superior Court.

However, Judge Daniel Wolk denied DPD Gonzalez’s request and granted Deputy District Attorney Frits Van Der Hoek’s request for a continuance.

On July 7, 2023, the accused, who usually resides in Solano County, was arrested in Yolo County and charged with one count of resisting arrest as well as two additional enhancements from prior felony convictions.

Since the initial arrest date, DPD Gonzalez explained the accused’s case has been continued multiple times because the DDA has not been prepared to proceed and, since July 7, the accused has been released on parole and re-arrested several times for parole violations.

“Last Tuesday he [the accused] was on the Dept. 1 calendar in custody…he was here after he was in custody in Solano County. Dept. 1 released him on his parole conditions,” DPD Gonzalez explained to Judge Wolk.

Gonzalez continued, explaining that upon Tuesday’s release, the unhoused accused spent the next day and a half residing in a shelter in Davis but was arrested once again Thursday on another parole violation by the Solano County parole office.

“On Aug. 1, when we reset for preliminary…parole arrested him. They came over from Solano County, had him arrested in Yolo County, he was in our jail, and on July 31, the day before we had court, he was transported to Solano County. On Sept. 19 he was present in custody and he was released and stayed in our county and it wasn’t even two days before parole arrested him again,” Gonzalez added, highlighting why DDA Van Der Hoek doesn’t have good cause to continue the case.

In fact, the accused was aware that he needed to check in with Solano County parole but made it explicitly clear through a phone call with the parole office that he is unable to get to Fairfield to check in because he does not have any means of transportation, said the DPD.

DPD Gonzalez cited the recurring arrests as a “cycle that needs to be broken” and noted that his client should not be continually punished for being unhoused and not being able to transport himself from one county to another.

Hearing arguments from both the DPD and DDA, Judge Wolk turned to parole officer Jennifer Martinez to hear her thoughts on the case.

According to Martinez, the parole office has no legal commitment to help each and every accused on parole find means of transportation, which she notes to be relevant in the accused’s case.

“[There is] no obligation for us to pick up every parolee upon their release, especially when they’re from out of the area,” Martinez added, vehemently objecting to DPD Gonzalez’s arguments about a violation of due process.

Despite Martinez’s comments, DPD Gonzalez continued to appeal to Judge Wolk and explained that because of DDA Van Der Hoek continuing to delay the preliminary hearing, it is a due process violation where “the government has gotten in its own way in impeding the progress of this case that this court has jurisdiction over.”

However, even after acknowledging DPD Gonzalez’s compelling arguments, Judge Wolk granted DDA Van Der Hoek’s request for a continuance.

DPD Gonzalez walked away, shaking his head in clear disagreement with Judge Wolk’s decision.

About The Author

Madison Whittemore is a rising junior at the University of California, Davis where she studies political science and psychology. After completing her undergraduate studies, Madison wants to go to law school and study criminal law while working to improve efforts for prison reform and representation for lower income citizens.

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