COURT WATCH: Yolo County Judge Allows Prosecution to Add New Infraction 4 Years after Original Charge, Defense Claims Accused Did Jail Time 

By Madison Whittemore

WOODLAND, CA – After a heated debate in Yolo County Superior Court Monday over whether or not an accused man actually served jail time, Judge Daniel Wolk granted the prosecution’s request to amend the accused’s charge to an infraction, despite the defense claiming it was adding another count against the statute of limitations.

The accused man is charged with two infractions for driving an unregistered vehicle and providing an officer with the wrong vehicle registration.

Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira, appearing for the accused, who was not present in court, emphasized the two infractions occurred almost four years ago, in 2019.

After the charges were stated, confusion immediately ensued in the courtroom when Judge Wolk questioned why the accused’s case had been previously confirmed, went to a trial setting conference, and then mysteriously disappeared off the court calendar.

Deputy District Attorney Aloysius Patchen explained to Judge Wolk he had filed a motion to dismiss one of the counts and replace it with another infraction from a different section of the vehicle code.

These “decisions were made without notifying counsel” DPD Sequeira stated in response to DDA Patchen’s motion, adding the infraction the DDA was trying to add was an infraction from a different section of the vehicle code which would make it a whole different count.

“Procedurally how can they add a new count past the statute of limitations that isn’t from the same section?” DPD Sequeira asked, once again noting that the charges the accused is facing are nearly four years old and past the statute of limitations.

DPD Sequeira argued that after the accused committed the infractions in 2019, he served a sentence at the El Dorado County Jail, which she had previously explained to DDA Carolyn Palumbo, who had been on the case in 2019.

According to DPD Sequeira, the two attorneys had agreed that the accused’s time at the facility qualified under the relevant vehicle code section.

However, in response to this explanation by DPD Sequeira, DDA Patchen vehemently argued the accused had in fact never gone to jail, claiming, “They (the jail) does not have any record of (the accused).”

DDA Patchen also insinuated that maybe the accused had lied about serving time in jail, to which DPD Sequeira responded with “usually my clients don’t lie about going to jail because, why would you…”

In wake of DDA Patchen’s comments regarding jail time, DPD Sequeira explained DDA Palumbo had been informed about the accused’s record of serving jail time and even showed Judge Wolk that she had physical proof with her which documented the accused’s jail time.

“I showed it to him at the last court date and then he gave me some answer that implied he didn’t care,” DPD Sequeira asserted, requesting Judge Wolk schedule a trial for the accused since there was no motion to continue or trail the case.

Despite DPD Sequeira’s opposition to DDA Patchen’s amendment, Judge Wolk agreed to dismiss one count and add an infraction from another section, ultimately agreeing with DDA Patchen.

However, Judge Wolk did grant DPD Sequeira’s request for a courtroom so that the case could go into trial.

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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