by Maryjo Nuñez
A West Sacramento man has been charged with a felony, later reduced to a misdemeanor, due to directing menacing threats toward his previous partner and their child. On April 23, 2018, Sujoy Mukhopadhyay texted his ex-partner ten worrisome scenarios involving himself, the partner and their son, thus frightening his previous partner who sought police help and legal action.
On August 10, 2018, the preliminary hearing for Mr. Mukhopadhyay occurred in Department 14, Judge David Rosenberg presiding. Mr. Mukhopadhyay has been charged with violating Penal Code section 422, targeting individuals with criminal threats. The prosecution has, in charging this, portrayed the defendant as unstable. However, the defense instead maintains that Mukhopadhyay’s acts are those of an upset father, not knowing how to gain the ability to see his son.
Unfortunately, Mr. Mukhopadhyay and his former partner, “FB,” experienced a falling out, resulting in a custody battle between Mukhopadhyay and FB over guidance of their son. But then, Mr. Mukhopadhyay failed to appear for the family court date, which prompted an ex parte order giving FB custody of their son, thus angering Mr. Mukhopadhyay. Subsequently, Mr. Mukhopadhyay took refuge in drugs, which the People, citing instability of the defendant, offer as a potential reason why he delivered his threats.
Moreover, FB, as one of the witnesses, maintained that the text messages that she received were indeed not empty promises, but rather serious threats. In fact, those ten text messages had been “screenshot” and sent to the police, which the People had submitted as evidence for the alleged threat. For example, the defendant had texted FB with words denoting that he would “run my [his] car through the house and kill myself [himself]” to cause her and their son to feel guilt. The texts continued, with Mr. Mukhopadhyay claiming that he will “get high and kidnap him [their son].” As a result of this exchange, an alarmed and terrified FB installed a security system in her home, and purchased a gun.
However, according to FB, Mr. Mukhopadhyay is not a violent man by nature. In the history of their relationship, he had never once physically hurt her or their son. Furthermore, she believes he does love their son, but also that he would not make idle threats to kidnap their son.
The defense argued that, because Mr. Mukhopadhyay loves his son, he lashed out in this way. Mukhopadhyay had been allowed to see his son before and was desperately seeking attention, so as to see his son again. The defense believes this matter should be resolved in family court and not criminal court. In contrast, the People condemned the defendant’s actions as criminal.
The court entertained the possibility that Mr. Mukhopadhyay had operated out of anger and desperation. However, it also maintained that those ten text messages were no trifling matter, and should be still be charged.
Thus, the court declared there was substantial evidence against Mr. Mukhopadhyay in this matter, but given his history of no physical violence toward FB or their child and that he appears to truly love his son, the charge of felony was reduced to a misdemeanor.