By Jose Medina
WOODLAND – Isaac Uriel Valdez Thursday pleaded a motion seeking early termination of probation and his conviction so he can “get on with his life,” according to Deputy Public Defender Teal Dixon before Judge Peter M. Williams in Yolo County Superior Court, Department 1.
California Penal Code section 1203.3 gives the court the authority to terminate probation in a misdemeanor or felony earlier than the agreed-upon probation deadline. Penal Code section 1203.4 allows the defendant to present a petition to dismiss the case by withdrawing any plea of guilty and to reenter a plea of not guilty.
Valdez’s attorney, Dixon, moved to dismiss his conviction and for early termination of probation.
However, the victim opposed the motion, arguing that “it’s not in the interest of justice, the case is originally filed as a felony involving strangulations, given the severity of that the people are entitled to benefit from the bargain which is 36 months of probation.”
It was clear that the victim in the case did not feel at ease with the possibility of Valdez receiving an early termination on his probation.
The victim also mentioned that “the defendant has already received substantial benefit by having their charges reduced to a lesser misdemeanor,” and therefore should not receive more court decisions for their benefit.
The victim’s argument would have been honored by any judge believing that the victim could be put in danger by the defendant. The victim would have not been given the proper justice if the defendant is highly dangerous and was given an early termination of probation and dismissal of conviction. However, that appeared not to be the case with Mr. Valdez.
According to Dixon, her client (Valdez) “has been working really hard since his conviction…studying in UC Davis and graduated to teach high school chemistry; that is his goal.”
Dixon argues “the defendant is in the U.S. Army reserves, which is something we did not touch on very well in our papers. I’ll also note that in June he went from being a non-commissioned officer to a Second Lieutenant in the reserves. So, we know that even the Army thinks that Mr. Valdez is an upstanding citizen given his promotion.”
Dixon noted that, in order to teach, Valdez has to get his teaching credentials—“but in order to do that he would need to have early termination of his probation. They will not allow anyone with a probation in the classroom and that is going to prevent him from going further in his studies.”
Dixon concluded, “As you can see in the filing he’s been very active in the community. He’s been an exemplary citizen in every way except for this one offense. He’s about halfway done with the time, he’s completed his community service, he’s completed his class, he has expressed an understanding of what he has done wrong in this situation, he’s learned ways of how he could handle this differently so the rehabilitative portion of probation has been successful here in teaching him what he needs to know.
“There’s nothing that would be gained from keeping him on probation for another year and a half…he’s not going to get any additional classes, he’s not going to get any additional supervision, there’s no more real rehabilitation that is going to come from this. He is just going to be stalled with moving forward in becoming a high school chemistry teacher, which is his dream.”
Judge Williams said he was impressed by Valdez’s record and stated that “by all accounts it’s obvious that Mr. Valdez has led an exemplary life other than this one case of abhorrent behavior and he hasn’t had any previous misdemeanors or felonies.”
Judge Williams then ruled that he would grant early termination of probation, but that he would wait six months to dismiss Valdez’s conviction, wanting to make sure that Valdez stays out of trouble within those six months and that, once those six months are up, Dixon can come forward to move to dismiss the conviction per Penal Code section 1203.4.
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