By Nico Ludwig-Stock
WOODLAND, CA – Deputy Public Defender Aram Davtyan, in Yolo County Superior Court last week, successfully argued the prosecution’s request for long term mental health care as a condition of release was unreasonable because, “there are no long term facilities for people with mental health or even substance abuse issues.”
In the arraignment hearing , a man pleaded not guilty to felony assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury and misdemeanor battery against cohabiting spouse or former.
DPD Davtyan referenced the previous preliminary hearing for the case, noting he had requested the accused be released after the hearing, but this was denied.
“Even though their offer is a probation offer, it’s not clear to me what additional safeguards they want to impose at this point to have (the accused) released,” said DPD Davtyan.
According to DPD Davtyan, the accused has a place to stay away from the complaining witness, and has a way to get medications through the jail. The prosecution had also requested mental health services for the accused.
While a care facility has not been secured for the accused, his father has agreed to look after him. DPD Davtyan therefore requested the accused be released to his father’s care.
After several minutes of discussion, the judge announced he would recall the matter later to allow DDA Dunham time to review the circumstances of the case.
About half an hour later, Judge Rosenberg revisited the case to discuss the custody status of the accused. DDA Dunham shared that she had reached out to the alleged victim.
According to DDA Dunham, the alleged victim feels “very afraid for her safety especially considering that there were children involved in the incident that occurred,” and fears if the accused were released he would retaliate. DDA Dunham also noted the accused has a “prior battery against the (alleged) victim from 2019” which took place in Florida.
The alleged victim, said the DDA, also felt that more needed to be done in order to address the accused’s mental health needs—specifically, she felt there needed to be a “long term” plan.
DDA Dunham reported that “she’d prefer to see him either in a mental health facility or in a place where he would receive much more significant services other than being released to a family member.” She was also concerned about leaving treatment and medication up to the accused to administer for himself.
DPD Davtyan responded by saying he has not heard any logical way to satisfy the DDA’s demands because “there are no long term mental health facilities that are going to take (the accused) in the foreseeable future. That is not a thing…and it is always up to the individual to take some initiative and get services.”
Even so, DPD Davtyan stated he felt the accused would pose no threat if he were to be released to his father because the accused told him he would be willing to seek out services, his father is willing to take him in, and is aware of his mental health issues. DPD Davtyan added it would be best if the accused would be released as soon as possible so he could receive mental health treatment quickly.
Judge Rosenberg ruled the accused would be released on supervised own recognizance (SOR) under three conditions, including: he must wear a GPS monitor; cannot cross the river into Yolo County unless he has a court appearance; has a meeting with his attorney; or has a meeting with his probation officer. And. he must take all medications prescribed for him, and see a mental health professional.
The accused is scheduled to return in December, and will have a trial setting conference in January.