Sentencing postponed for woman who assaulted neighbor

Sentencing for a 49-year-old Belmont woman convicted of felony assault on her neighbor was continued this morning because she had been hospitalized for psychiatric issues since her jury trial, according to the district attorney's office.

Janice Anne Lutz, who was arrested April 29 after she drove her Ford Mustang into cabinets being built by her male neighbor, suffered some form of psychiatric breakdown for which she had to be hospitalized, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. The breakdown occurred shortly after her conviction for assault.

During a hearing this morning Judge Elizabeth Freeman followed the recommendation of the probation department and is having the case referred to the Pathways program, which is a mental health and substance abuse program in San Mateo County, Wagstaffe said.

Freeman also declined to rule on a defense motion to drop the felony charge down to a misdemeanor, Wagstaffe said. She decided that the motion would not be ruled upon until a judge decides whether Lutz should participate in the Pathways program instead of being incarcerated in the county jail.

During the April incident, Lutz apparently became enraged by the noise her neighbor was making in the carport of their apartment complex in the 600 block of Wessex Way, according to Belmont police.

After allegedly yelling racial slurs at the 37-year-old man, Lutz then got into her black 1995 FordMustang and drove into the cabinets he was working on, forcing the furniture into him, police reported.

The man suffered a sprained shoulder, according to the district attorney's office.

Lutz, who remains out of custody but has been ordered to have no contact with her neighbor, was convicted on Nov. 19 of felony assault, but the jury did not find her guilty of hate crime allegations that had also been brought against her. Her sentencing has been continued to Jan. 25 when it will be decided if she is going to be admitted to the Pathways program.

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