COURT WATCH: Judge Mandates Physical Presence in Court for Las Vegas Disabled War Veteran Struggling with Finances

By Perla Chavez 

WOODLAND, CA– An accused man—a disabled war veteran from Las Vegas—informed the court here Wednesday that, for financial reasons, he could not appear in person at Yolo County Superior Court; the judge still ruled attendance at the next session was mandatory.

The accused is charged with threatening a crime with intent to terrorize, four counts of vandalism, and an additional enhancement for aggravating circumstances.

The concern over attendance arose when the accused claimed he was out of state and working on his proper paperwork, ensuring he could represent himself in court.

The prosecutor explained that because the accused declined to pay restitution, it was anticipated there would be no resolution to the case and it would go to trial, with a preliminary hearing scheduled with the expectation the accused would attend his court dates in person.

The accused responded he hasn’t had a chance to state he is on a fixed income as a retired, disabled war veteran. The accused claimed he did not have the funds to travel to California and attend court in person.

The accused asserted the alleged victim stole $11,000 from him and in order to pay the restitution he would have to file a lawsuit against the alleged victim to fulfill the request.

Judge Stephen L. Mock asked the accused where he was located as of the current court session, to which the accused stated he was in Las Vegas, where he resides.

Judge Mock followed up with a question clarifying whether the accused was ordered to be in court Wednesday. The accused responded he did not have any money to travel.

“That’s not the question. The question is did the judge tell you to be in court today,” replied Judge Mock.

The accused stated, “I’m here but I can’t physically afford to fly to California right now. I don’t know what you want me to say. I don’t have the money.”

The accused said the prosecution’s offer to him to lower the felony to a misdemeanor was conditioned on paying restitution, which the accused said he couldn’t do unless he sued the alleged victim.

The accused added the alleged victim was operating without a license and committing fraud before Judge Mock interrupted.

“You’ll need to be physically present to continue this hearing,” Judge Mock stated, adding that while he recognized the impossibility of the accused attending in person Wednesday, he intends to continue the preliminary examination in two weeks with the accused being present in person.

“Based on the situation that I have before me, while the People are prepared to proceed, I shall continue the preliminary examination on the court’s own motion until April 10,” ruled Judge Mock.

About The Author

Perla Chavez is a first-generation college student that has obtained a paralegal certificate from the UCLA Extension Paralegal Program. Her academic journey includes a major in Political Science with a focus on race, ethnicity, and politics at UCLA. Perla has actively contributed to social justice advocacy through internships with CHIRLA and the NAACP. Driven by her passion to recognize inequalities and advocate for the rights of others, Perla aspires to become an immigration lawyer. Apart from her dedication to academics and the legal field, she finds fulfillment in being a volunteer for the city of California City, spending quality time with family, and expressing creativity through painting.

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