When a trial court grants probation in a case involving domestic violence, it is required under Pen C §1203.097 to impose numerous mandatory conditions of probation, including at least 36 months of probation, successful completion of a batterer’s program, and a criminal court protective order. As reported by the Recorder, there is a long history of courts failing to comply with these requirements. Last week, San Diego County Superior Court Judge DeAnn Salcido finally had enough of this noncompliance by her colleagues and went public.
Judge Salcido filed a writ petition against her own court and supervising judge to force the bench to crack down more on domestic violence probationers. The Recorder quotes Salcido’s writ as stating that, among the judges on her bench, some failed to put protective orders in place and
it was common practice to send a domestic violence defendant to a 12-hour anger management course instead of the mandatory 52-week batterer class.
Judge Salcido’s writ was immediately denied by the 4th District California Court of Appeals and she is still deciding whether to appeal to the California Supreme Court.
Because Salcido is up for election this year, some are characterizing this writ petition is an election-year stunt. Regardless of the reasons or timing of the petition, it will hopefully push courts to comply with the statutory requirements and better protect the victims of domestic violence.
On setting probationary terms, see California Judges Benchbook: Domestic Violence Cases in Criminal Court, §§5.39-5.54.
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