In Rare Feat, Judge and Prosecution Both Agree to Defendant’s Suggestion of What His Sentence Should Be for Crimes

By Ganga Nair

SACRAMENTO, CA – In a rare occasion of the judge and prosecution accepting a modification to the sentence of a defendant—from the defendant—Curtis Sanders agreed to take a plea deal here in Sacramento Superior Court Tuesday, pleading no contest to three misdemeanor charges, including driving with a suspended license, and a hit and run causing damage to property.

On Oct 22, 2020, Sanders drove his vehicle with a suspended license, aware that his license was suspended because of a prior DUI charge. While driving, the defendant hit another car, and fled the scene before sharing his information with the other party.

The terms of the original plea agreement were accepted by Judge Philip F. Stanger and Deputy District Attorney Kelly Lynn Mulcahy.

The plea deal required that the defendant plead guilty or no contest to the first two charges of driving with a suspended license as well as the hit and run causing property damage.

The punishment is one year informal probation, various fee payments, prohibition to drive a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, and 22 days in home detention, work-project or jail time. Sanders would also have to pay any compensation for the damage to the other party’s vehicle. In exchange, the other charges would be dropped.

However, when Judge Stanger asked the defendant if he had any questions about the deal, Sanders then proposed being fitted with an ankle monitor instead of the 22 days home detention. He continued, explaining that he was told, “I’m hearing it’d be a great thing for me.”

The defendant then explained that he has been residing in a drug rehabilitation program called Centerpoint for two weeks, and would be there for 90 days. Judge Stanger asked Sanders to describe the program, to which Sanders explained he was getting drug tests and treatment.

Judge Stanger accepted Sanders’ amendment to the plea deal, and then passed the suggestion to Mulcahy, the prosecution. Mulcahy stated that she was in agreement with the changed plea deal, but wanted to make sure that the defendant was not serving time, but was on parole. Sanders responded stating, “I’m not doing time, I’m getting help. I’m in a drug rehabilitation program.”

Mulcahy agreed to replace the 22-day time served condition of the plea agreement with the ankle monitor, which Sanders would wear for the time served in the drug rehabilitation program. As per the changed terms of the plea agreement, the defendant would have to provide official documentation from Centerpoint proving that he completed the program to fulfill the terms of the deal.

Defendant Curtis Sanders is set to return to court on Oct, 7 with documentation proving that he completed the program at Centerpoint.

About The Author

Ganga Nair is a rising sophomore at UC Davis, majoring in International Relations and Psychology. She is from Sacramento, CA and hopes to pursue a career in international law.

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