COURT WATCH: Judge Denies Dismissal of Any of Accused’s ‘Old’ Misdemeanor Cases 

By Helen Shamamyan

WOODLAND, CA – Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso appeared in front of Judge Stephen Mock here in Yolo County Superior Court this week on behalf of a man accused of driving under the influence, operating with a suspended license, and having high blood alcohol content or refusing a blood test between June of 2018 and October of 2023.

Borruso noted most of the cases were six years old. But, Judge Mock denied the 15-page motion to dismiss the charges because, the judge said, DPD Borruso did not adequately meet his burden of proof, and the accused missed many of the past court dates.

The accused has six cases, which have been heard in various departments since 2018. DPD Borruso first addressed the court’s speculation that the accused did not attend hearings until 2023 because the accused was avoiding the court.

The PD, in the motion to dismiss, argued an investigator filed a declaration for the court on the accused with details of the accused’s whereabouts since 2018.

According to the referenced file, the listed address on all documents regarding the case matched the accused’s place of residence, said Borruso, asserting it is “pretty clear he wasn’t fleeing” the court’s orders or running away from authorities or obligations.

To this, Judge Mock considered how to analyze the case under state law, in which he stated the burden to prove prejudice rested with the accused, noting the cases were “quite old.” The judge said there was no proof that this obligation was met, although the length of the delay is “significant” and most definitely “weighs against the People.”

Judge Mock said the accused had signed a promise to make appearances, yet has only been to court since 2023, and never for any of the substantive cases.

DPD Borruso asked the 2018 DUI matter alone be set for trial with a limited-time waiver, to which Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin agreed.

DDA Serafin was asked by Judge Mock to consider joining the two DUI cases from 2018 and 2021, which the DDA refused to do, stating that these were the accused’s third and fourth DUIs.

About The Author

I am a student from Southern California that's graduating this year from UC Berkeley. Prior to coming here, I worked as a court watch/ law clerk for a PEO in worker's comp cases of California warehouses. I reported the hearing summaries and outcomes to the employer and maintained correspondence with the attornies prior to and after each hearing on behalf of my boss. I have nearly completed by Bachelors in English, and I am planning on taking a break year before delving into law school to study civil rights defense.

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