After Years of Trying, Young Defendant Wins Freedom When Judge Agrees with Persistent Attorney

By Aishwarya Rajan

SACRAMENTO – After years of petitions—and disappointments—it was only when the judge said last Friday he was free that a big smile swept across young Anjay Shamsher Singh’s face.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael G Bowman outlined the accomplishments and growth of the 20-year-old defendant as he ruled the Singh should be released immediately from an ongoing six-year and 260-day sentence for attempted robbery.

The attempted robbery was nothing less than “unsophisticated” and “foolish,” according to Judge Bowman. Singh’s violation of Penal Code section 664 was an attempt to “retrieve” money from a victim at the request of Singh’s father, who claimed that the money really was his.

After analysis of this evidence, Judge Bowman sympathetically opined, “I think it’s a difficult position to put a 20-year-old in, to either impress his father or carry out his father’s wishes.”

Following the defendant’s attempted robbery charge, he was charged with an enhancement for carrying a concealed firearm while on probation (Penal Code section 29815, which prohibits any individual on probation from possessing a firearm.)

The approval of this enhancement request increased Singh’s criminal sentence to a one-third-the-midterm rule, upping his two-and-a-half-year sentence to six years in the state penitentiary.

After much reflection on Singh’s accomplishments, Judge Bowman praised the defendant, noting he has “continued to thrive” as “he is the president’s honor roll of Lake Tahoe Community College, and he has been relatively discipline free.”

For these reasons, Judge Bowman later claimed that “it is the best interest of justice to strike the firearm enhancement, and I will strike the enhancement.”

Beginning in 2018, the defendant’s counsel, Michael Wise, filed petitions of habeas on five separate occasions to highlight the injustices of his client’s sentence.

The aim was to either reduce the sentence or dismiss the charges against the defendant by deeming his incarceration as unlawful.

Each hearing resulted in the denial or continuance of matters involving habeas corpus.

Judge Bowman agreed with defense counsel, and that meant Singh had already completed his sentence and earned a credit of 260 days because he was incarcerated for more than six years, for a sentence that should have been reduced.

“Frankly, everyday he is in there now, is one day he shouldn’t be in there,” expressed Judge Bowman.

Judge Bowman’s decision to strike the enhancement would allow Singh to use the 260 extra days spent incarcerated toward his three-year parole sentence.

Until Friday, Wise’s habeas proceedings were failed attempts to release the young defendant.

The pending release of the 20-year-old inmate took just one five-minute Zoom hearing conducted by Judge Bowman, who quipped that “a person is more than one mistake they’ve made in their lives.”

As a final note to the defendant before declaring him a free man, Judge Bowman added, “I hope my trust in you is well placed. I believe that you can contribute to society.”

Aishwarya Rajan is a first year Political Science-Public Service major and Cognitive Science major at the University of California, Davis. Her various experiences living in her hometown in Danville, California, have shaped her passions to deliver justice through a career in law.

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