Judge Makes Deal Defendant Can’t Refuse – Cuts Fees, Guaranteeing No Jail Time

By Esha Kher and Savannah Dewberry 

SACRAMENTO, CA – In sentencing defendant Todd Riesland to 90 days in jail, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Scott Tedmon had two possibilities for the defendant—Reisland could do his time on the sheriff’s work project, but it’s expensive, and if he can’t afford it he’ll have to do his time in county jail.

In the end, Tedmon cut Riesland quite a deal….one he couldn’t refuse.

Riesland was detained on Feb. 21 after neighbors called the police about a dispute between the defendant and a third party. There was an alleged battery after Riesland tried to keep the third party, who supposedly vandalized the defendant’s car, at the scene.

Riesland pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of inflicting corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon the victim, who claimed that Riesland assaulted and slammed them against the neighbor’s door.

Riesland has a fairly significant prior history of criminal offenses including multiple past crimes of violence and a violation of a protective order in a domestic violence case. Because of that, the judge ruled that a presumptive bail would be set to $10,000. Reisland wasn’t getting out so he took the deal.

But seconds after sentencing, Judge Tedmon eliminated the problem of whether or not the defendant would be accepted into the sheriff’s work program by removing the main obstacles in the way of getting accepted into the program: the $80 application fee and the $40 per day fee.

Knowing that Riesland is unemployed, Judge Tedmon waived all the enrollment fees, noting, “I want you to succeed here. You’re 42 years old and I don’t want you to be doing life imprisonment on the installment plan. I want you to start your life not necessarily as a fresh start, but in a successful manner.”

In addition to the sheriff’s work project program the defendant also had to complete a domestic violence class called the Batterers’ Intervention Program for 52 weeks as part of his terms of probation.

Judge Tedmon not only waived all enrollment fees and reduced the per class fee to a minimum of $5 dollars for this class, but also said that the defendant will only be on formal probation at the outset, and once he completes the batterer’s treatment program he’ll be on informal probation for three years.

Judge Tedmon showed more than a little compassion for a defendant with a very long list of prior misdemeanors and felonies, adding that “hopefully you can get on your feet financially…it’s a tough time for a lot of folks here today.”

Esha Kher is an undergraduate student at UC Davis studying Political Science and Computer Science, hoping to pursue a career in corporate law. She is passionate about legal journalism and political advocacy that provokes new perspectives and sparks conversation among the public.

Savannah Dewberry is a student at the University of San Francisco. She is pursuing a Media Studies major with a minor in Journalism. Savannah Dewberry is an East Bay native and currently lives in San Francisco.

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