By Ramneet Singh
WOODLAND – Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg approved the release, with sentencing set for February, of Estaban Ascencio Wednesday after the defendant pleaded no contest to a stalking charge and promised not to violate the terms of his agreement—not going anywhere near the victim.
On Oct. 29, Ascencio was charged with two alleged felonies related to stalking, the latter charge involved the violation of a temporary restraining order. He was also charged with five related misdemeanors, including the “possession of controlled substances.”
In terms of the general time frame, Judge Rosenberg stated that the complaint concerns “about Oct. 29 and Nov. 11 of this year.”
According to the factual basis, Deputy District Attorney David Wilson described that “the defendant continued to have contact with (the victim), send her text messages, emails…he would appear in her bedroom. As the victim described it to me it was almost daily contact.”
The victim, he said, “was concerned for her safety.”
Deputy Public Defender David Muller stipulated that these instances occurred despite a temporary restraining order.
The prosecution and the defense reached a resolution in which Ascencio would plead no contest to Count 2. Mr. Muller held that there was a “promise of no state prison at the outset. He is to be assessed by the probation department for an appropriate anger management course. The court will also need to consider whether or not to issue a restraining order that can be up to 10 years.”
DDA Wilson did not have the opportunity to discuss the length of the restraining order with the victim, but he will by the time of sentencing.
Judge Rosenberg accepted the terms of the plea agreement and probation. The remaining counts were dismissed. Judge Rosenberg vacated that day’s preliminary hearing and said that the proceedings of the court would be sent to the probation department to aid in a pre-sentence report.
Judge Rosenberg inquired about a restraining CPO (criminal protective order) and Wilson confirmed that “there was one in effect” and asked that it continue. Wilson needed to discuss the length of the order with the victim.
Before confirming a sentencing date, Muller requested a release for Ascencio on a Cruz waiver, where the court would accept hisplea but put sentencing and surrender over to a later date. He advised Ascencio that if “he comes in contact with the complaining witness, should he commit a new offense, fail to come back to court for sentencing, this court can sentence him up to four years of state prison.”
Continuing, Muller stated that Ascencio is a contractor and “he currently has a job that grosses $14,000.” Ascencio “already purchased the materials for this project…” and that he should be released for the sake of his business.
In the discussion of his residence, Wilson stated that both defendant and victim lived together in Woodland until August before the defendant was evicted. With a release, Ascencio confirmed that he would be living with one of his sisters.
In response to the Cruz waiver, Wilson stated that the victim was “concerned for her safety” and he felt uncomfortable with it as it “…seemed there was an obsession on the part of the defendant with this daily contact…”
The DDA noted that the defendant was aware of his restriction and was contacted by the Woodland Police Department about the various infringements that constituted this case. In a discussion with the victim, she stated to Wilson that she “was hesitant to call every time there was a violation because she didn’t want to irritate dispatch…”
DDA Wilson referred to Ascencio’s “possession of what appeared to be methamphetamine” and that this impacted his behavior. From his court date for Dec. 9, he pointed to the court-ordered assessment and that Ascencio was considered “high risk.” Wilson was doubtful the Cruz waiver would work.
Judge Rosenberg stated that “there is a changed circumstance” in the admission of committing the crime and that the grant of probation meant that in the “best-case scenario, he would be released in about 20 days on probation.” Therefore, Rosenberg approved the Cruz waiver.
Judge Rosenberg confirmed with Ascencio that any violation of the restraining order “binds (Ascencio), but it doesn’t bind the court…” and that he could be sent to prison. He described a violation of the restraining order as “silly.”
Ultimately, the judge stated that “we want him to earn some money and be as productive and busy as he can be…” He addressed Ascencio, saying that “you need to move on with your life…”
Ascencio replied with, “Just gonna move forward from now on.”
Judge Rosenberg ordered Ascencio’s release, with “search and testing” for illegal substances. He scheduled the sentencing date for Feb. 16 at 9 a.m. and said that Ascencio had to report to the probation department on Jan. 14 by 1:30 p.m.
Ramneet Singh is a third-year student at the University of California, Davis. He is a Political Science major and is pursuing a History minor. He is from Livingston, California.
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