By Koda Slingluff
SACRAMENTO – A man serving a 14-year sentence filed a longshot motion here in Sacramento County Superior Court last week asking the judge to consider Penal Code section 1203.4, which allows defendants who were sentenced before the year 2011 to withdraw a guilty or no contest plea.
Though public interest-oriented, the court made it clear today that the legislation is far from exploitable.
Judge Scott L. Tedmon stated “the court has received, read, and considered the petition for dismissal.” And then he denied it.
Along with Bennette’s petition, the court received a memorandum from the probation office recommending that the petition be denied because Bennette is not eligible for what he requested; his conditions of parole have not been fulfilled.
Bennette is serving a 14-year state prison sentence, which contradicts the required qualifications for PC § 1203.4.
Deputy District Attorney Anissa Galata quickly objected to the petition, citing not only the memorandums but also the concerning nature of his crime record. She emphasized his current prison sentence for armed assault related to an attempted murder charge.
“The dismissal would not serve the interest of justice,” Galata emphasized, as she went on to describe several domestic violence charges even after his initial sentencing. She summarized details and concerns of Bennette’s history, highlighting the clear discrepancies between Bennette and the sort of person who would be eligible for such a petition.
Galata’s objection towed the fine line of denying the defendant’s eligibility while still appearing public interest-oriented.
Emphasizing both the empathetic nature of the legislation and its specificity, Galata concluded, “This type of relief is intended to reward individuals who successfully complete probation, exhibit exemplary conduct. This is not an individual who has exhibited exemplary conduct.”
Koda is a junior at UC Berkeley, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Rhetoric. He is from Ventura, CA.
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