Charge Confusion: Judge Questions Whether Charge ‘Appropriate’ – Both Sides Agree to Change Charge after Judge’s Query

By Anika Khubchandani

SACRAMENTO, CA – During Marcos Molina’s preliminary hearing here in Sacramento County Superior Court Tuesday, Judge Geoffrey Goodman asked District Attorney legal intern Adrienne Black to give him “a little more detail” on the factual basis of the defendant’s case.

Marcos is charged with grand theft from a person. But the judge had some questions about that.

Black explained that the “victim alleged that golf clubs were taken from his garage” and that they “were found in the possession of the defendant when officers had apprehended him in his vehicle.”

Since the golf clubs were supposedly taken from the victim’s garage, Judge Goodman said he was “curious as to why the charge is a 487(c), grand theft from a person.” Grand theft from a person implies property “taken from the immediate person,” he said.

Neither Black nor Assistant Public Defender Gina Le responded immediately. Breaking the silence, Judge Goodman asked “can somebody help me out here?”

In an attempt to elaborate on Black’s explanation, Le said that the golf clubs cost $3,000. Judge Goodman interjected saying that “the plea should just be grand theft,” noting grand theft from a person “doesn’t sound like the appropriate charge.”

After shuffling through her notes, Le shared that “the police report states that the victim had his golf clubs in his garage but there was no evidence that Molina had gone into the house or anything of that nature.”

“Who came up with the idea of 487(c)? That doesn’t sound like that’s a charge that’s reasonably related to the facts as they have just been described,” inquired the judge. Since the police report was unclear and described Molina having possession of the gold clubs, the charge became grand theft from a person.

Le responded that Molina “would be fine with pleading to receipt of stolen property” instead.

DA intern Adrienne Black had no objection to the change of charge, and the case will be scheduled on that allegation.

About The Author

Anika Khubchandani is a 4th year student at UC Davis majoring in both political science and economics. She is from San Jose, CA.

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