COURT WATCH: Prior Strike from Age 16 Used against Man Seeking Bail Reduction; Judge Claims ‘Unlikely’ to Show to Court  

By Audrey Sawyer

MODESTO, CA –  A man currently with stable employment and a place to live, but with a previous strike from when he was 16, had the teen offense used against him at a bail reduction hearing here in Stanislaus County Superior Court this week.

In addition to the prior strike, concern was emphasized by the prosecution and Judge Carrie Stephens on whether or not the man would return to court or comply with any future interactions with law enforcement. 

Judge Stephens pointed out the accused currently has a new misdemeanor case and has another hearing pending in a few days. There are three total cases, one a misdemeanor (not on calendar), one felony, and one violation of probation. 

Deputy Public Defender Neil Zientek opened, asking for a bail review, but the judge reminded the DPD that if the accused is released on his own recognizance, he would still be in custody on the misdemeanor charge. 

Deputy District Attorney Vita Palazuelos requested bail to be increased in the matter, arguing, “He was trying to evade arrest by lying to officers.” 

The man was previously arraigned on a PC section 148.9, “providing false identification to an officer.” 

“While he has a strike prior, it is very old. The strike occurred when he was 16 years old. He has been a resident of our county, he has a stable job, he has his own apartment/place. He has significant community and familial ties, including his 83-year-old mother. Regarding any history, he does have a couple of felonies for drugs. One is from 2008. There is one domestic violence case,” DPD Zientek shared with the court. 

DDA Palazuelos objected to the bail reduction, stating: “His most recent action was lying to law enforcement. When he was contacted by police, he admitted that he knew he had warrants. He tried to evade arrest by lying about his name. I do not think that he would subject himself to arrest or return to court.”

Emphasizing the prior strike, DDA Palazuelos added, “He has a prior strike. Granted it was a while ago. He was also charged with two counts of attempted murder at the time.” 

Judge Stephens noted the accused was in warrant status for almost two years, and denied the request to reduce bail or to let the accused out of custody on his own recognizance.

“He was on probation when the offense was committed. The first VOP was a failure to surrender. After that, he did not report to probation. It was in warrant status for some time. The new case brings us some concern. He did not want to address the legal responsibilities of the charges. We do not believe that he will come back to court. We absolutely believe that he is a flight risk, given the issue,” said the judge.

A preliminary hearing is set for March 1. 

About The Author

Audrey is a senior at UC San Diego majoring in Political Science (Comparative Politics emphasis). After graduation, Audrey plans on attending graduate school and is considering becoming a public defender.

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