By Kelly Moran
SACRAMENTO – Both parties agreed to a plea deal this week in Sacramento County Superior Court—but the judge nixed it.
At Lakia Young’s preliminary hearing, Judge Steve White declared that “there is sufficient cause to believe the defendant, Lakia Cherrilynn Young, is guilty” after refusing to accept a plea arrangement agreed to by the defense and prosecutor.
Young was arrested after her ex-boyfriend reported to police that she ran her car into his car despite the knowledge that her own child, with whom she shares custody with her ex, was in the backseat of his car. This all occurred after an altercation between the two at a Motel 6 where the pair were trying to find accommodation for Young because she is homeless.
Young is currently being held in custody on felony and misdemeanor charges of assault with a deadly weapon, and willfully causing a child to suffer. Young entered a plea of not guilty for the felony charge, and pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor.
Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Maroun came prepared to accept the counter deal offered by the defense, which included Young pleading guilty to the felony and serving 220 days in jail, with five years probation and a no contact order.
Young’s misdemeanors from 2016 and 2019 respectively would not add onto her jail time. Maroun also said she would be supportive of having Young released the same day if her sentencing was carried out in the preliminary hearing.
Young’s conviction from 2019, which was for willfully causing a child to suffer or inflicting great bodily injury on the child, proved to be more complicated. “The victim in this matter also has the same conviction,” said Maroun, “they were co-defendants in that case where their child in common was put in a position to be neglected.”
She continued, “[T]he victim in this matter and the defendant have repeatedly gone back and forth with their arrests, usually involving the child they have in common.”
Due to Young’s difficult history, the judge did not sign off on the deal.
Maroun brought in Deputy Austin Kurtz, one of the responding officers to the crime scene, to read from his report in court via Zoom.
According to the statements taken from the victim, Young said “‘F**k your car,’ and she said she was going to return and “finish his car.”
Kurtz also shared that, upon inspection of the victim’s vehicle, “it looked like it was a direct collision…the damage appeared to be direct and intentional.”
After Kurtz admitted that he had not attempted to locate the vehicle described in the victim’s statement, Young’s defense attorney, Russell Wyatt, argued, “wouldn’t finding the Volkswagen be able to show vehicle damage to the front end of that vehicle which would confirm that that vehicle was used in this particular crime?”
Kurtz confirmed that because Young is homeless, there was no permanent address for him to have searched for the car.
Despite the lack of confirmation surrounding Young’s vehicle as the identified vehicle in the incident, Judge White decided that there was enough evidence against Young to suggest guilt in the matter.
“I don’t find that that’s an acceptable resolution given her history and also the circumstances and facts of her present offense,” said Judge White, “I respect the parties’ efforts to resolve it but I just don’t find it acceptable and that’s why I wouldn’t take the plea.”
Young will return to court on Jan. 6 for a trial readiness conference, and will stand trial Jan. 11, 2021.
Kelly Moran is currently a senior at Santa Clara University, though originally from Connecticut. She is majoring in English, with a focus on British Literature and Professional Writing, and is also minoring in Journalism.
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