By Evie Sun
SACRAMENTO – Lorenzo Fernandez seemingly caught a break here Monday in Sacramento County Superior Court Dept. 61, appearing in front of Judge Michael Sweet with private defense attorney David Knoll and Deputy District Attorney Frederick Gotha.
The defendant was charged with felony evading the police, driving recklessly without a license and under the influence, unlawful possession of psilocybin mushrooms, all while armed with a loaded 9 millimeter handgun.
Fernandez allegedly committed a felony violation of unlawfully evading and pursuing a peace officer. The defendant was operating a Range Rover and did not yield when the officer’s siren was reasonably sounding. The defendant ran at least two red lights, two stop signs, and he drove at speeds in excess of 75 miles per hour, eventually abandoning his vehicle.
The defendant also committed a violation of Health and Safety Code section 11378, possessing three pounds of psilocybin mushrooms with the intent to sell them. Fernandez was also driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol; laboratory results indicated a blood alcohol level of .114.
Fernandez was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. But Judge Sweet had second thoughts.
“You have a criminal history, you’ve never been to prison before, you’re 28 years old, so that gave me a little pause to maybe give you one final opportunity to turn your life around. But the five years, eight months—it’s a slim opportunity. That means you need to abide by every single term and condition of your probation, and failing to do so could result in a state prison sentence,” said the judge.
In the end, Judge Sweet decided to suspend the execution of the five years, eight months sentence, and to place defendant on five years probation to include 364 days in the county jail. Half of the 364 days (180 days) will be in custody. At the expiration of the 180 days, the defendant will be released to sign up to serve the balance on the sheriff’s work release project.
“Other terms of your probation: No firearms. This will be your third firearm conviction. No firearms. If you violate that term, you’ll be going to prison for five years, eight months. No ammunition, no reloading ammunition. It’s treated the same as a firearm,” said the judge.
Aside from a $300 restitution fine, and a $40 court security surcharge fee per each of the six counts, the judge also decided to waive all other fines, fees and costs in the interest of justice.
Evie Sun is a third-year student at UCLA, studying Sociology. She is from the East Bay Area.
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