By Natasha Pawar and Allison Hodge
SACRAMENTO, CA– A man pled guilty to all charges of domestic violence and identity theft Wednesday, following repeated interruptions and heated statements in Sacramento County Superior Court Dept. 14.
Henry Brock, a previously convicted felon with numerous cases and allegations over the last 10 years, entered a plea of no contest for three pending cases between September 2020 and January 2021.
Brock admitted to multiple felony charges, including two domestic violence counts enhanced by serious bodily injury to another, and identity theft. District Attorney Michelle Carlson and defense attorney Byron Roope came to an agreement before the scheduled preliminary hearing.
Roope, on behalf of the defendant, requested a Cruz waiver (when a plea is accepted but the defendant is given time to settle personal matters before their surrender date) to allow Brocks a few hours or days to seeing his dying father.
Roope asserted that Brock’s father had pancreatic cancer and might not be able to see his son after his release from prison. The defense attorney told the court, “His father used to be an average of 240 pounds but he’s now under 150, and I’m sure you can see how that’s extremely worrying for a son.”
Carlson, however, argued against the waiver and mentioned Brock’s criminal history, ranging from multiple domestic violence charges, protective orders, misdemeanors, felonies, burglaries, and numerous failures to appear dating back to 2009.
Roope requested further consideration and explained that the defendant was not asking for more than a couple of days and was willing to settle for any time with his father and children.
The defense attempted to appeal to the court’s emotional interests, stating that he felt confident of Brock’s return to court for his arraignment and found it “difficult in his conscience” to not urge the court to grant the waiver.
Still, Judge Tami R. Boger denied the request, stating, “While the court sympathizes with Mr. Brock, the seriousness of the charges and prior history leave the court without confidence.”
The court proceeded to discuss the plea deal, which involves an aggregate of nine years in state prison, including three years for felony domestic violence, three years for an admission of a prior strike, and three years for great bodily injury to the victim. This sentence would be served concurrently with the defendant’s two other cases.
Judge Boger then began the plea colloquy and attempted to ensure Brock’s understanding and willingness of the plea. The defendant repeatedly interrupted as Judge Boger admonished him for speaking over her.
The conversation continued with Brock uttering expletives in exasperation. When Judge Boger attempted to resume, Brock answered each question extremely slowly and stared at the opposing counsel before giving a response.
DDA Carlson then clarified, “He [Brock] has an option to refuse this plea,” but Brock continued to talk over the judge.
Judge Boger asked the defendant if he wanted to continue with the deal presented to him, to which Brock responded, “I’m taking my deal. I just want the one who’s convicting me, who’s sitting right here, to look me in the eye.”
Judge Boger then suggested that the court continue the hearing to the afternoon after the defendant had more time to consider the deal. Brock responded, and yelled, “I thought we were proceeding with it right now!”
As Judge Boger tried to end the stream, a named victim who had been present in court suddenly asked, “Why am I not able to speak or have any say so if I’m the […] victim and why have I not been able to talk to you?”
Judge Boger condemned such language within the courtroom and repeated that the court would pick this case back up in the afternoon.
Following the morning’s outbursts, the defendant appeared much calmer and collected in accepting the previously agreed no contest pleas.
Judge Boger again attempted to make certain that Brock understood what he was agreeing to, stating that he “gave the court the impression that maybe you weren’t fully on board with the plea offer.”
Judge Boger went on to mention that she took the application for a Cruz waiver into consideration, and had officers contact a few of Brock’s family members to witness the plea deal for the afternoon session.
The defendant, although still rather despondent, affirmed that he did not have any reluctance in accepting the offer. He took the time to state that he felt like the punishment was excessive, and cited his substance abuse as partially responsible for his behavior.
Brock stated, “I feel like I’m not given an equal opportunity to rehabilitate myself,” and again emphasized that, “Nine years is overkill, and not really attacking what the problem is.”
After making himself heard, however, the defendant ultimately stated, “It’s not going to get better than this…nine [years] is what it is, and I’m willing to proceed.”
Judge Boger then continued to go over all final details of the plea agreement, reaffirming the nine-year state prison sentence and terms of parole following release. Brock, for instance, will not be able to own or operate firearms for the rest of his life, will face a parole term of three years following release, and must pay restitution of $300 to the named identity theft victim.
The court then accepted Brock’s no contest pleas and proceeded to sentencing with approval from the defense and the People.
Prior to the finalization of his sentence, the defendant asked to be heard, and again raised concerns about his view of the justice system and his prison term.
Brock circled back to his prior statement about drug abuse, and stated, “I wanted to seek help and it wasn’t given to me.” He reiterated that nine years is not necessary, and finally asked, “Where’s the help when somebody needs it?”
Following the defendant’s final statement, the domestic violence victim requested to be heard by the court and criticized the criminal justice system.
The victim appeared visibly upset and stated that her words had been twisted around by the prosecuting attorney. She repeatedly emphasized that she did not want the defendant to be sent to prison for such a long term, stating, “You guys did not do your job today…it’s not fair.”
Judge Boger thanked the victim for her statement and continued to the final sentencing.
Probation was denied to Brock, and he will be committed to state prison to serve at least 85 percent of his nine-year sentence for a violent felony.