COURT WATCH: Accused Cuffed in Court during Progress Report Hearing; Defense Argued against Revoking Previously Granted Mental Health Diversion 

LOS ANGELES- CA, MARCH 2: Los Angeles Superior Court Stanley Mosk Courthouse March 2, 2004 in Los Angeles Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

By Estrella Torres 

LOS ANGELES CA – This past Friday, in a progress report hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Mental Health Diversion granted to the accused was revoked by Judge Lauren Weis-Birnstein because of an alleged failure to comply with his mental health program.

The accused was arrested on the spot during the court hearing.

But, Deputy Public Defender Felicia Mizvahi argued diversion should not be revoked nor should the accused be arrested only on the premise of failing to comply with the program.

The accused was previously granted mental health diversion for one count of a felony burglary charge that took place on May 17, 2023. He was then “conditionally released to a program” that would facilitate his needs and get him help.

In Friday’s court, an employee from the mental health program was present with reports detailing the recent behavior of the accused within said program.

Judge Weis-Birnstein read part of the report out loud, which outlines how the accused “struggled to engage with his treatment.”

The accused was also “not compliant,” would get “‘upset and frustrated” and would make “inappropriate comments” to residents and staff, according to the program report. The accused was “disruptive in group therapy” continued Judge Weis-Birnstein as she continued reading.

The compounding factors of failing to comply with the mental health program led to Judge Weis-Birnstein finding enough justification to revoke the mental health division that was previously granted to the accused, subjecting him to being arrested immediately.

The bailiff quickly handcuffed the accused as he sat next to DPD Mizvahi.

 “Come on, I didn’t do anything,” remarked the accused while being handcuffed and looking at the program employee and the bailiff.

DPD Mizvahi promptly responded to Judge Weis-Birntsein’s ruling, arguing that revoking mental health diversion and arresting the accused is not justified simply on the basis of failing to comply with the program.

DPD Mizvahi continued arguing diversion should “not be revoked” because “the chosen program does not always fit with the right person.” Mizvahi proposed a preferable alternative, to find a better-suited program for the accused, stating, “I have some programs I have been looking into.”

Although Judge Weis-Bernstein acknowledged that finding a better program in the future is a possibility, she ruled “for the time being” he must be taken into custody.

The accused is ordered to appear in court April 30 for a hearing setting regarding his Mental Health Diversion termination.

About The Author

Estrella Torres is a first-generation Latina student in her 3rd year at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in Public Affairs. Estrella has a strong passion and dedication to addressing social justice issues and political activism both in her high school and university. Her positionality as a student coming from a Mexican immigrant household has fueled her to pursue career goals involved with social justice and immigration law. She hopes to help undocumented immigrants as a lawyer and promote policies that would better their lives and provide them with fair and equal opportunities. Because of this, she is planning to go on the pre-law track and foster her skills of reading, writing, analyzing, and critical thinking. She hoped to gain more experience in journalism as regards law, local government, and public policy that would further prepare her for her goals.

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