By Shwetha Krishnakumar
FRESNO – Nathaniel Orozco’s attorney said the defendant here in Fresno Superior Court needed substance abuse treatment, not jail.
Instead, Orozco was sentenced to more than eight years in prison after being found guilty of one count of felony domestic violence, one count of armed residential burglary, and one count of violation of parole.
Judge Glenda Allen-Hill of the Fresno Superior County sentenced the defendant to eight years and four months of incarceration.
Defense counsel Ralph Torres requested the violation of parole count from the prior strike conviction be struck, arguing that the defendant was young (20 years old) and, as the driver, was only an accomplice to the crime.
As an alternative to sentencing, Torres proposed the defendant’s admittance for two years in an inpatient facility to treat his substance abuse issues.
In response, Deputy District Attorney Ismail Aliyev stated that he did not believe this was an appropriate action, given that the current offenses were more violent than the strike offense, demonstrating a clear escalation in the severity of the crime.
Acknowledging the DDA’s point, Judge Allen-Hill ruled that court “did not find [Mr. Orozco] a suitable candidate for probation,” adding that despite the dangerous nature of the crime, the court would give great weight to the defendant’s admittance of guilt and remorse, and to the victim’s wishes expressed via letters.
However, there was some debate about a supporter’s testimony.
According to A.M., sister of the victim M.M. and who has known Orozco for 10 years, the defendant had been “a great father and uncle to his son and nephews,” and expressed hope that he receives the long-term care he requires for his self-admitted problems with substance and alcohol abuse.
However, Judge Allen-Hill, after a brief consult with the counsel, expressed concerns over the testimony of A.M, stating that her statement mirrored the language of the letter submitted to the court by the victim M.M.
The judge noted that leniency would be extended as well because the weapon was not fired, also due to lack of clarity about who the initial instigator of the crime was.
Reiterating that the defendant could not violate the protective order against the victim M.M. by attempting to contact her despite having a child with her, the judge stated that Mr. Orozco would be allowed peaceful contact with his child through a third party only.
After sentencing the defendant to eight years and four months of incarceration, Judge Allen-Hill, noting that the defendant did not utilize the mentorship and tools previously provided to him, said to the defendant, “Make better choices, Mr. Orozco, when you get out.”
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