COURTWATCH: Judge Grants Accused Military Diversion Over Prosecutor Objection 

By Darlin Navarrete 

WOODLAND CA – Judge Daniel M Wolk granted a military diversion for an accused over the prosecution’s objection, and requested a more detailed treatment plan, here at the Yolo County Superior Court Tuesday morning.

The accused is charged with three misdemeanors: drunk driving, driving under the influence, hit and run/property damage, and enhancements for excessive blood alcohol or refusal.

Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez explained to the court the accused has been struggling with his mental health since leaving service and has not sought help until coming to the realization he needed it following his most recent arrest.

DPD Gonzales then requested for the court to consider diversion for the accused, noting the inconsistencies in the police report, pointing out that the initial assessment reported no injuries but then later stated two people were injured in the incident. DPD Gonzales said he believed this discrepancy was a “copy and paste from another case.”

Deputy District Attorney Frits Van Der Hoek reminded the court the accused had prior DUI convictions, from 2006 and 2014, since leaving military service in 2004.

The prosecutor argued, “The suitability of someone who drives drunk over and over is not someone the court should be granting diversion to.”

DPD Gonzales responded to DDA Van Der Hoek’s argument by stating the accused’s prior convictions were spaced out by several years but it’s only now that the accused has a supporting foundation.

Judge Wolk specified that the filings for this case are different from previous cases as this time around there was a filing for “50 percent connectivity for PTSD” and the court was comfortable with granting diversion to the accused.

DDA Van Der Hoek then argued there should be a treatment plan before granting diversion, which the accused did not have in the report in front of the court.

DPD Gonzales cited section D of the report containing the accused’s engaged treatment and counseling, but DDA Van Der Hoek charged section D contained recommendations, not an actual plan and the court needed to have a plan to measure success to progress with diversion.

Judge Wolk agreed as DPD Gonzales voiced the accused’s records/treatment plan is inappropriate for public consumption and “an attempt to further stall the relief for (the accused).”

“It’s not stalling, it’s a requirement,” DDA Van Der Hoek said.

Judge Wolk told the accused he would be granting military diversion over the objection of the prosecution, but wanted to have a more detailed treatment plan in order to move forward with the military diversion by the next court date, April 9.

About The Author

Darlin Navarrete is a first-generation DACA student with a bachelor's in Political Science with a concentration in Race, Ethnicity, and Politics from UCLA. Being an honors student, Navarrete enjoys an academic challenge and aspires to attend law school and become an immigration attorney. Her passion for minority rights and representation began at a very young age where she identified injustices her family encountered and used them as outlets to expand her knowledge on immigrant rights and educate her family. Outside of academia, Navarrete loves spending time with her family, working on cars, and doing community service.

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