Judge Vows to Change Stalking Sentence for Defendant with 13 Charges

By Lovepreet Dhinsa

SACRAMENTO, CA – Judge Michael Savage didn’t like a sentence he was supposed to hand down to a defendant expected to be sent to jail for two years, eight months for stalking and 12 other charges.

And Savage vowed to change the sentence after listening to victim testimony.

A case that was previously under another judge was taken over by Judge Savage here in Sacramento County Superior Court Tuesday, and after listening to a victim’s testimony, the judge and DDA changed their minds about what the outcome should be…significantly.

Defendant Robert Irvine originally faced 13 charges—nine felony charges, including stalking, weapons and firearms charges, and four misdemeanors for violating a court order.

Irvine had been living in the same neighborhood as the victim, in which he constantly harassed the victim and their family, according to the victim, who said their “life has been in shambles since mid-2019,” when Irvine started to create problems.

The victim had security cameras installed outside her home, and they found footage of the defendant coming to the front door, waving at their camera, opening their screen door, and attempting to open the front door on multiple occasions.

The victim contacted the Citrus Heights Police Department, which resulted in a restraining order against the defendant. This, however, did not stand in his way, the victim said.

After the restraining order had been issued, the defendant was found in the backyard of the victim’s house, where he was looking into the daughter’s bedroom. After an exchange of calls in between the victim and the Citrus Heights Police Department, the police said they couldn’t do anything else.

The restraining order did not prevent the defendant from continuing to come onto the victim’s property, knocking on the front bedroom door and window, or “trying to look into our house,” alleged the victim. The victim and their family said they found these incidents to be increasing and becoming far worse.

The family discovered, said the victim, the defendant looking into their vehicles, which were parked in the driveway, walking back and forth on the entire driveway, and continuously looking into the victim’s backyard. The victim and the family caught the defendant on their property 15 different times.

On one day, the victim also found the defendant Irving opening the garage door and entering into the garage, where he remained for approximately 10 minutes.

Each time the victim would call the Citrus Heights Police Department, they would get no response and after a while, they ignored them completely.

The victim stated that their “family and [they] had to live with sleepless nights, emotional stress, anxiety, and fear of what will happen if he decided to proceed with his intentions.”

In addition to the emotional stress the family faced, the victim said there was a financial burden. They were forced to purchase multiple surveillance cameras to ensure the safety of their family. The victim recalled several occasions when they had to take significant time out of their workday to deal with each of these incidents.

The victim insisted these incidents have affected their “children and their way of thinking.” The victim repeatedly told the court that they did not feel safe, their kids did not feel safe, and nor did their neighbors.

The victim stated that they “have had to live knowing that one day Mr. Irvine might snap and that could end [their] lives.”

The victim informed the court that they had taken several precautions and every legal route that was possible, and they listened to every officer informing them that this would end up as a police report.

After these continued incidents, the victim stated that the defendant had threatened that “he would kick my door in and rape me,” adding that the defendant was found with multiple weapons and ammo, all of which he was not supposed to have after the restraining order was in place.

The victim stated that the defendant continues to prove himself to be a danger to society and their family, and they were forced to move someplace else. The victim said their family was not obligated to deal with someone else’s mental health issues—they felt their lives were at risk.

Before listening to the victim’s testimony, Deputy District Attorney Nikita Skokov had determined that a sentence of two years and eight months was sufficient for the defendant, because it was a first time offense.

However, Judge Savage completely disagreed with this decision based on the victim’s testimony, emphasizing that all he knew about this case was that “this man basically terrorized [their] family for months and years to the point where [they] are having to uplift [their] entire family and move.”

Judge Savage also stressed the importance of the psychological damage that the victim’s children faced in the duration of this time, as well as the apparent psychological damage on the entire neighborhood.

Judge Savage gave the DDA two options: send out for a probation report if the DDA wanted him to come to a decision, or he could move this case back to the previous judge in a different department.

The DDA noted that he understood the complexities of this case and the judge’s position, in which he justified this previous sentence based on the fact that this was a first time offense.

The DDA and defense counsel agreed upon the terms to provide a probation report, which would give enough time to the judge to become more familiar with this case.

The judge ended with “the loss that [the victim] has faced is incalculable” and emphasized that the current sentence was unacceptable, and he needed more time to come to a decision.

Judge Savage ruled the next hearing would be April 6 to give probation enough time to create a report.

Lovepreet Dhinsa is a junior undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Politics with a minor in Legal Studies. She has a passion for criminal defense law, and strives to go to law school to fight for indigent clients. As such, she is also involved in her university’s mock trial program and student government.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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