By Tiffany Devlin
SACRAMENTO – Defendant Reginald Wright was released late last week from Sacramento County Superior Court on his own recognizance despite allegedly inflicting injury on a victim, along with threatening to throw their baby out of a window.
While the victim submitted an impact statement closer to when Wright was arraigned, she submitted an updated victim impact statement claiming that she wanted the case to be dismissed if he completes the required programs.
Wright was charged with inflicting corporal injury upon a victim resulting in a traumatic condition. Defense attorney Carmen Butler said that he would be entering a no contest plea to that count. Wright also has 257 days time-served in jail.
“The agreement would be that the court would not be sentencing Mr. Wright today, but the court would be ordering him to participate in the 52 week batterer’s treatment program,” said defense attorney Butler.
“The court would be ordering him to complete the 13-week parenting class program, (and) the remaining charges would be dismissed…approximately one year once he’s completed both the counseling programs, we would return for him to withdraw the plea on the felony and enter a plea to a misdemeanor,” Butler explained.
Butler also stated that the court would enter a peaceful contact protective order.
“If he doesn’t pick up any new crimes or is not arrested for any new crimes within that time period, and he finishes all the classes, then it would be reduced to a misdemeanor and he would plead to time-served and be placed on three years of formal probation, and we would issue the criminal protective order (CPO),” said Deputy District Attorney Renishta Lal.
“However,” Lal continued, “if he doesn’t complete the requirements of the parenting classes and the batterer’s treatment program, he would be sentenced to time-served as a felony and be placed on, I believe now we are agreeing to four years, of formal probation in light of the new law for domestic violence (DV) cases.”
Lal disclosed that the victim and the defendant have been dating for a year and a half. They live together and have a two-month-old baby. The victim and the defendant got into an argument, during which the defendant became aggressive.
The defendant followed the victim into the bathroom, grabbed her by the throat with both hands, and held her there for a second. He then threw her down and held her down by putting his hand on her shoulder and head.
The victim attempted to call the police after eventually getting up, however the defendant took the phone away. Their baby was crying during the event, so the victim picked up the baby. The defendant grabbed the baby from the victim, threatening to throw the baby out the window.
The victim suffered from red marks to her throat and both sides of her neck. Her face was also slightly swollen.
“I would just add to that, your honor, that the district attorney’s office has been in contact with the victim as well as my office,” defense attorney Butler said.
“She has indicated that she did not believe that he was serious about the threat to do anything to the baby, that he’s been nothing but, prior to this incident, a loving father, and she thinks that it was said in order to agitate her in the moment of the argument that was occurring,” Butler continued.
Judge Renard Shepard brought the victim’s impact statement to Butler’s attention from Sept. 16, which claims that she was terrified during the incident.
“I would note that since that letter, she actually sent an updated victim statement to the district attorney’s office in which she indicated that that letter was actually, I believe mainly written by someone else, and that those were not her feelings,” Butler corrected. The updated letter was emailed to the district attorney’s office on Oct. 20.
Lal read the victim’s updated letter out loud for the purposes of the hearing.
“After having some time to think about this situation that occurred between Reginald and I, it has been troubling me. I wanted to ask if I could modify the statement that I sent as my victim impact statement,” the victim wrote.
The victim claimed in her updated statement to have had someone else write the original statement for her. She claimed that it was because she was emotionally distraught and mentally exhausted after having to see her baby go through a surgery and then experiencing an event like this.
“Now that I have a clear mind, I am able to address my feelings in my own words at this time. I had no knowledge at the time what a felony meant. I looked up the information and I understand what it means—I don’t agree with Reginald being convicted of a felony,” the victim wrote.
The victim acknowledged Wright’s actions in her updated letter, however she does not believe that Wright would have ever harmed their son. She highlights many factors that point to Wright being a loving father, and that he was attentive to the baby before and after their surgery.
The victim requested that Reginald would re-enroll in parenting classes, and complete them. In June of 2020, he was trying to enroll in anger management, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was unable to do so. Enrollment in programs for drug rehabilitation, domestic violence, and anger management have been heavily impacted since the COVID-19 crisis started.
In the letter, the victim requested the case to be dismissed if Wright completes the classes. If this request cannot be fulfilled, however, she does not believe he should receive anything more than a misdemeanor.
She claimed that neither herself nor the baby sustained any serious injuries. She also noted that a hospital doctor said that the baby’s heart rate was elevated, but other than that the baby did not sustain any other injuries.
The victim added she did not want a no-contact order, but rather a peaceful-contact order. Butler addressed to the court that the victim filed the original no-contact order separately in family law court, meaning that the order is still in effect.
Butler explained that Wright understands that the order is still in place, and that both parties understand that unless the victim goes back to court and rescinds the order, it is still in effect.
Butler requested to modify the existing order in this case, considering that the victim requested that she wanted a peaceful-contact order instead of a no-contact order in her updated impact statement.
Wright entered a no contest plea, and will be enrolling into the 13-week parenting program and the 52-week batterer’s treatment program. He has been released on his own recognizance.
Wright will come back to court on Jan. 27 for proof of enrollment. Time will also be waived for judgment and sentence, which will take place on Feb. 9, 2022.
Tiffany Devlin is from Richmond, California, and she is a fourth-year student at San Francisco State University majoring in Criminal Justice Studies.
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