CHP officer Armando Ortega, 43, will be arraigned on domestic violence charges which stem from an incident during which Ortega’s wife was injured at their Woodland home. Ortega is currently free on bail.
Woodland police arrested Ortega on August 28 at his Farnham Avenue residence after they responded to 911 callers reporting a fight. Ortega was not on duty at the time of his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During the preliminary hearing in Yolo County Superior Court, Judge David Reed’s courtroom on October 14, Ortega’s wife refused to answer questions about the violence he allegedly inflicted on her. She even refused to identify him although he sat a few feet away from her in the courtroom. “I refuse to answer any questions at this time,” Ortega’s wife repeated several times. Nonetheless, Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens persisted in asking her questions about her marriage. (Authorities have not identified Ortega’s wife by name since she is an alleged victim of domestic violence.)
Finally, Judge Reed interrupted, saying, “She has made it clear she does not want to answer any questions.” Reed, however, went on to explain he would hold her in contempt if she kept on avoiding answering the prosecutor’s questions. His explanation was in vain; she would not answer any more of the DDA’s questions.
After the witness was dismissed, Couzens accused her lawyer, Steve Sabbadini, of coaching her refusals to answer. Couzens explained, “”The victim here very uncomfortably refused to answer any questions. This is very telling and it happens on a repeated basis in domestic violence cases.”
Sabbadini said his client can undergo counseling before testifying. Thus she can keep her thoughts to herself without facing contempt charges. Judge Reed concurred, saying, “I don’t see anything lost by giving her the opportunity to do so.
Ortega’s arraignment is scheduled for October 29 before Judge Reed.