By Patrick Shum
Leona Jull, the woman who ran the Woodland homeless shelter, Fourth & Hope, and was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the charity, pled no contest to a misdemeanor grand theft charge. Despite the objection of DDA Jennifer McHugh and the DA’s office, Judge Rosenberg accepted the plea which will only entail misdemeanor probation and $2411 of restitution as punishment.
The judge accepted this plea because, after three days of deliberation, the jury remained deadlocked at 6-6, with no end in sight. Judge Rosenberg also cited several factors in his decision. He said California law allowed for good faith as a legal defense for grand theft, even if the good faith was to some degree mistaken or unreasonable. That is, a jury could accept the defense that the defendant stole only because she thought she had a right to the money or goods, as long as such belief was not completely unreasonable. The judge noted that the policies at Fourth & Hope were amorphous, such as having no written credit card policy, so that the defendant could have been mistaken in her use of Fourth & Hope’s funds and items. Exercising his judicial discretion, Judge Rosenberg reduced the felony grand theft charge to a misdemeanor grand theft charge. He also cited Jull’s lack of a criminal record as well as her decade of service to the homeless as other reasons for reducing the charge
However, the judge said that Jull’s actions were still grand theft. Her crime is not petty theft. It was still grand theft, but it was not felony grand theft. McHugh requested a restitution hearing on the sum Jull was to pay, likely because she considered $2411 to be overly lenient as opposed to insufficiently so, but the judge explained the sum he had decided. He ordered that Jull pay $2411 in restitution for nine items that could be considered theft, such as Jull’s use of the charity’s funds to fix her home door or purchase a marine battery. However, the judge explicitly said he would not order Jull to pay restitution on the other things that she charged to Fourth & Hope, such as gas, meals, clothing and other repairs.
Judge Rosenberg asked a few more questions of Jull as part of the plea deal, first confirming that her initials and signature were on the plea and waiver form. At this point, DDA McHugh spoke up to say that the DA’s office did not agree with the plea, but the judge continued anyway. The judge then reduced the felony grand theft charge against Jull to a misdemeanor grand theft charge. The sentence, as indicated above, would include restitution of $2411 as well as misdemeanor probation. However, this sum would not include any court fees incurred. At that point, Jull formally pled no contest to the new charge. Both the DA’s office and Jull’s attorney Robbin Coker agreed that the plea had a factual basis, and then Judge Rosenberg accepted the plea deal and signed it into order. He then gave McHugh time to speak.
McHugh said that the crime in question is not a misdemeanor but a felony abuse of the power of Jull’s position, violating the trust placed in her as a voice and help of the homeless. However, despite her objection, Judge Rosenberg found it in the court’s discretion to reduce the sentence. Time was waived for sentencing, which is due for August 29 at 1:30 PM.
Status Conference in Daniel Marsh Case
By Silvia Ramos Medina
At a status conference on the morning of July 30, 2014, Daniel Marsh alongside his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson, appeared in court.
Daniel Marsh is charged with the double murder of Oliver “Chip” Northup and his wife, Claudia Maupin. The sixteen-year-old boy allegedly tortured and mutilated the couple in their Davis home.
On June 2, 2014, Marsh changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.
Today in the courtroom, Judge David Reed communicated to the attorneys that they are still waiting on one portion of Daniel Marsh’s psychological evaluation report. The court hopes to have the other portion of the report by August 8.
Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral stated that a protective order was being discussed.
“Do you object to the court signing the protective order?” Judge Reed asked Daniel Marsh’s attorney, Ron Johnson.
Judge Reed then told Mr. Johnson the protective order would be filed.
Soon after, Mr. Johnson informed Judge Reed that Daniel Marsh’s sister, Sarah Marsh, had requested to visit her brother.
Sarah Marsh, who was sitting in the audience, then spoke up. She disclosed that she had only been granted two visits: one non-contact and one full contact.
“I’m requesting to see my brother like my parents do,” Ms. Marsh added.
Judge Reed did not object to Sarah Marsh’s request, authorizing her to have one visit with her brother.
The next hearing in Daniel Marsh’s case is scheduled for August 8, 2014, in Department 6.