COURT WATCH: Man Charged with Felony Grand Theft, Allegedly Refused to Return Fireman’s Jacket – Judge Sends Accused Back to Jail before Sentencing

By Citlalli Florez and Kyle Naranjo

WOODLAND, CA – A trial conference was held in Yolo County Superior Court Friday, with a man charged with felony grand theft—he’ll be sentenced in a month and the judge sent him back to county jail until then.

Deputy Public Defender Joseph Gocke revealed during the hearing the accused’s charge is based on him taking a firefighter’s jacket, moving it 40 feet, and then putting it back with no damage done.

With this felony charge, all other charges/cases were waived under a “Harvey Waiver,” which is an agreement by the accused that any counts dismissed as part of a plea agreement can still be considered for sentencing on the remaining counts.

The accused wished to change to a no contest plea, after being in custody for two months while awaiting this trial setting conference.

Gocke began the hearing announcing the accused “is in a position where we are doing a change of plea for felony probation to the grand theft count one case. All further counts and enhancements would be dismissed.”

DPD Gocke continued, “We have tried a number of different routes to try to resolve his cases but he has a PRCS supervision status in Sac County that’s preventing both him potentially being out of state and mental health court unfortunately.”

The accused told Judge Tom Dyer, “Your honor I let him (his attorney) know that I have been putting an effort on my side and reaching out to different resources so I have a discharge plan and I let him know what happened that day that I got arrested, I was drunk and I shouldn’t have let that happen.”

The accused has allegedly been in contact with his sponsor and has received assistance from the homeless court which is ready to help provide housing right away. He also will have to report to his probation officer in Sacramento to continue with his progress.

Judge Dyer let the accused know that he had a right to a trial, but the accused waived his right to move forward with the established plea deal. The accused pleaded no contest to grand theft. A sentencing date was to be set by the judge but the defense addressed the matter beforehand.

DPD Gocke said, “He’s been in custody for close to two months of actual time now, which given the nature of taking a firefighter jacket, moving it 40 feet and putting it back with no damage, I think would be sufficient. As the court also heard, he has supervision status in Sac County. He knows that he would need to report within 48 hours in Sac County. He is requesting to be released pending sentencing, if the court would like to make it supervised OR that would be fine but again he does have an agency monitoring him in Sac County.”

Deputy District Attorney Jose Figueroa objected, arguing, “Your honor, I don’t have any faith that we are going to see him again if he is released today pending sentencing. I think that there are a lot of pretty words said to the court today by (the accused). I ask that he remain in custody until his sentence.”

Judge Dyer pointed out the accused provided documentation he has been in contact with an individual from West Sacramento about getting into the project exodus program for housing and transitional services back into the community.

The accused replied, “I’ll have immediate housing, your honor, and I’ll have my fellowship group and my Sponsor from AA ready to assist me with positive fellowship and also taking care of basic needs.” He claimed that he would be able to make it back in six weeks with no problem.

Judge Dyer told the accused that one thing is conditional in the plea deal, that he remains crime free and he continues appearing before the court or all the effort is negated.

Judge Dyer directed his words to the accused, “You have a lot of challenges sir, and I have no doubt that you want to improve your life getting things in the right direction, when you first came in on these charges, there was an indication of smoking methamphetamine daily and fentanyl daily, which then drive to some of the issues that bring you to court and also there’s issues about not coming to court.”

The judge said he has serious doubts the accused will return to court because of his previous substance abuse. The sentencing was set for November, and the accused was denied release. He will be in county jail until his sentencing date in four weeks.

About The Author

Citlalli Florez is a 4th year undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently majoring in Legal Studies, Chicana/o Studies, and Art Practice. She intends to attend law school in the future with the purpose of gaining skills to further serve her community.

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