(Woodland, CA) – April 3, 2019 – On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 36-year-old Woodland resident Calli Garcia successfully graduated from Addiction Intervention Court in Department 14 of the Yolo County Superior Court.
Addiction Intervention Court (AIC) is a specialty court program that serves up to 15 individuals who struggle with substance use disorders and are involved in the criminal justice system as a result of their addiction. The program is a collaborative effort between the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, the Yolo County Superior Court, the Public Defender, the Probation Department, and Health and Human Services Agency. The program provides intensive support services and supervision aimed at increasing a participant’s overall quality of life while reducing recidivism.
On March 5, 2017, at approximately 4:44 a.m., Ms. Garcia was arrested with a friend in a blue Honda in Woodland. The car’s engine was running and there was a key in the ignition that didn’t properly fit the ignition housing. The key was for a Cadillac and had been modified to fit the Honda. Ms. Garcia gave officers a false name and was arrested for vehicle theft. Ms. Garcia pled no contest to felony vehicle theft and was admitted to Addiction Intervention Court. Dating back to 2007, Ms. Garcia was convicted of drug charges on four occasions and served time in prison. At the time of the arrest, she was homeless.
Six months into the program, Ms. Garcia had made little progress. In March of 2018, her mother died, she lost her job and had tested positive for methamphetamine. She admitted to lying about using. Ms. Garcia then went to the Progress House, a residential treatment program, and since June, 2018 has received glowing reports. Progress House staff reported that “she is a wonderful mother and demonstrates integrity, courage, and willingness to change. She has more self-esteem and has continued to work on her self-confidence.”
Judge David Rosenberg, who presides over AIC, invited team members to speak about Ms. Garcia. Health and Human Services Supervising Clinician Kristi Abbott, Probation Officer Stephen Svetich, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven and Deputy Public Defender Bret Bandley took turns talking about Ms. Garcia’s amazing journey. After that, Judge Rosenberg invited others to the podium. Woodland Police Department Lt. Anthony Cucchi and Officer Rudy Godinez, who had arrested Ms. Garcia in 2017 approached. Lt. Cucchi said “we never get to see this end of things. And this is what we want. We want people we arrest to succeed. This is so incredible and important for us to see. Congratulations.” Karen Larsen, Director of HHSA, then approached. A tearful Larsen talked about how she has known Ms. Garcia for 20 years and was her therapist then. Garcia began to get tearful also. Larsen talked about how incredible she was and is now and how she lights up a room. Following Larsen was Probation Supervisor Rachelle Gayton who recalled both she and Ms. Garcia being pregnant as the same time while she was supervising Ms. Garcia on probation. She stated, “Normally I tell people I don’t want to see you again, but I want to see you in the future Calli.” Also, retired Judge Janet Gaard, who started AIC. came to court to congratulate Ms. Garcia. Judge Gaard said, “you stumbled along the way but you made it. Amazing!”
Finally, Judge Rosenberg presented a certificate to Ms. Garcia and praised her by stating, “You have paved the way for others here. Great job.” He then passed the microphone to Ms. Garcia. She talked about how thankful she was to everyone and addressed other participants. “You all can do this and I will be here to support you.” Ms. Garcia stated that her advice to others is to “surrender and give yourself a chance to change because miracles and blessings in recovery are far beyond your wildest dreams.’ After the graduation, Ms. Garcia, team members and other AIC participants celebrated with cake and pizza.