Lawyer Convinces Defendant to Switch Plea in Preliminary Hearing

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By Julian Verdon

SACRAMENTO – Kyrie Woods Richardson was thinking of pleading not guilty here at his Sacramento County Superior Court preliminary hearing—until his attorney pulled him aside to “chat.”

Initially, Richardson was set to plead not guilty but after consulting with his attorney he entered a no contest plea. Before doing so, Judge Michael Sweetadvised Richardson of the rights he would give up by entering into a no contest plea, which Richardson acknowledged.

Richardson’s attorney, Corey Thornhill, thanked Judge Sweet for explaining to Richardson the consequences of waiving his right to trial. Judge Sweet responded, “I know you worked hard to get that [plea], so absolutely.”

Richardson also stated he is not entering his pleas under any form of duress, coercion, or outside influence, and is making them from his own free will.

Richardson is charged with two felonies, including assault with the intent to cause great bodily harm and the second being assault with a deadly weapon.

Richardson and the first victim had gotten into a verbal argument when Richardson attacked the victim, knocking him unconscious. The victim awoke in the hospital with injuries.

Regarding the second charge, Deputy District Attorney Kristin Hayes stated, “[Mr. Richardson] was convicted of the crime of assault with a deadly weapon.”

Richardson didn’t argue—he accepted these facts in court.

The latter charge, assault with a deadly weapon, counts as a serious felony. Therefore, Richardson has one strike against him under California’s Three Strike Sentencing Law.

Defense counsel Thornhill wanted to make it clear that his client “is admitting to a prior strike,” assault with a deadly weapon, and the other charge, assault with intent to cause great bodily harm, does not qualify for a strike.

California’s Three Strike Sentencing Law mandates a judge to sentence a defendant convicted of a felony to 25 years to life if the defendant was also convicted of felonies that constitute two or more prior strikes. Richardson only has one prior strike under his name and is less likely to receive a harsher sentence if he were to reoffend.

His attorney, Thornhill, asked for a four-year prison sentence. Since Richardson already admitted to a prior strike that doubled his term from four to eight years in state prison and his attorney was attempting to lessen the pain of a longer sentence.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 7 at 8:30 in the morning.

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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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