The Stanislaus County Public Defender is an active participant in Stanislaus County’s Homeless Court which began earlier this year. The Homeless Court is an alternative to the traditional criminal justice court system.
The court session is focused on the homeless and formerly homeless and assembles every other month to resolve individuals’ traffic, infractions and non-violent minor misdemeanor cases. The court strives to resolve matters that have created barriers to the homeless from integrating back into society.
Clients are referred to the Homeless Court through homeless service providers and must apply for the program well in advance of the court date. Potential participants must prove that they have made progress towards attaining stability, which is defined on an individual basis.
On the scheduled court date, the Public Defender appears with each client and makes a presentation to the court showing how the client has progressed and how circumstances have changed since the client was originally charged with the offense, ticket or fine. The goal is for the client to walk away from court with these obstacles removed so that the client can move forward with their lives.