Judge John Gallagher deserves a hearty round of applause and even “The Wave” from Santa Cruz residents.
Judge Gallagher recently sentenced a chronic repeat offender to 90 days jail time and gave him a stern explanation about the seriousness of habitually ignoring citations and how this behavior was a drain on court and City resources. This was not the first time Judge Gallagher has increased the length of a jail sentence in a plea bargain, and it is very clear that he is supportive of our efforts.
As you have heard about, the local court made a decision to handle Municipal Code citations through the civil collections process. Once our chronic offenders became keen to this, they disregarded the citations and continued with their problematic behavior knowing the worst thing that would happen to them was the destruction of their credit rating.
To combat this, and to get some real consequences, the City adopted an ordinance which made it a misdemeanor to have 3 or more failure to appear for Municipal Code citations.
Preparing the necessary packets for each one of these scofflaws takes a great deal of time and personnel for both the police department and City Attorney. It is great to see that Judge Gallagher clearly “gets it” and is working to ensure these laws have some consequences.
By the way….the offender in this case…Jeremy Ochoa. You may remember him from our blog post of August 23rd. He was part of the group we arrested for drug sales in the Beach Flats.