Defendant Makes Personal Plea at Sentencing to ‘Strike’ a Former Strike to be a ‘Positive Influence’

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By Yuanqi Ivy Zhou

SACRAMENTO – Defendant Gabriel Anthony Urbieta made a personal plea to the court here, arguing an oral Romero motion to avoid an additional strike for the combined crime of possessing firearms and a hit and run – he promised the court “I can become and sustain myself as a father, husband, son, and brother who is a positive influence to those around them.”

On Feb. 4 of this year, Sacramento police recognized Urbieta as the suspect who possessed dangerous firearms and evaded the police the day before in the city of Milpitas. After spotting Urbieta getting out of a vehicle at a gas station in Sacramento, the police officer gave him commands at gunpoint to stop and yield, according to the prosecution.

Urbieta, according to the court documents, ignored police and flees back to his vehicle. At that moment, his girlfriend and a small child exited the passenger seat and left from the gas station. After their exit, the police officers pursued Urbieta, who ran stop signs, and reached speeds of nearly 90 miles per hour.

Urbieta finally ran a stoplight, and hit an occupied vehicle – the driver of the car severely injured his shoulder and face. After crashing into the vehicle, Urbieta fled on food and jumped a fence before the police officers finally caught and arrested him.

At the hearing on July 9, in the sentencing phase, Assistant Public Defender Joshua Kurtz filed a Romero motion on behalf of Urbieta in an attempt to remove his past strike for robbery with a shotgun.

In addition to the Romero motion, defendant Urbieta made his own oral portion, expressing his plan to work harder to improve his conduct for his family by attending the one to two-year substance abuse Genesis project.

In this oral presentation, Urbieta admits that though he takes many steps forward such as a new job, the birth of his daughter, and the time spent sober, he wants the opportunity to take avoid reverting his old ways.

During his last five months incarcerated, he claims that he has had “the opportunity for introspection and to evaluate the events leading to my incarceration, as well as the opportunity to find a way to make the rest of my time constructive and a true testament to rehabilitation.”

“I will rid my body mind and soul of discouraging drugs and alcohol, but learn positive and constructive ways to distance myself from factors and influences that have plagued me from years so I can become and sustain myself as a father, husband, son, and brother who is a positive influence to those around them,” he told the judge.

Deputy District Attorney Adrianne McMillan strongly opposed the Romero motion.

McMillian recounted Urbieta’s past conduct – he had a prior strike for robbery with a shotgun though he did not plead to possessing a gun, multiple arrest and felonies for possessing firearms, and a past similar hit and run. McMillan argues that when looking at a person, the Court has to “look at the person as a whole, you cannot just disregard something from the past because the conduct has already occurred.” For these reasons, his present sentence should be aligned to his past convictions, argued McMillan

Kurtz makes a final attempt to argue against the dismissal of the Romero motion by adding, “he did something in 2010, 2018, and now this” but “I do think it’s not about that judgement,” asserting that “we have an opportunity for him to do a one to two year program that will take him out of this context and actually give him the chance to start something new and give him the tools to do that and remove him from the context where he cannot stay out of trouble.”

Commissioner Ken Brody opined that “there’s really not a lengthy period where the defendant has been crime free” and that the “willingness to participate in rehab don’t outweigh the fact that there have been very few breaks as to him being either out of custody or off of probation or parole.”

Brody then said he will not exercise his authority to execute the past strike, and that in the “spirit” of the law, he finds that the purpose of the “3 strikes” law would not be served in the striking of this new strike.

The case was continued to July 23, at 8:30 a.m. in Sacramento Superior Court’s Department 61.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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