By Carson Eschen & Casey Rawlings
SANTA BARBARA, CA- Brayan Aguilar-Jimenez of Goleta, 22, and Raul Cortes of Fresno, 25, appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Monday for their sentencing after facing multiple charges in October of 2020, including negligent discharge of a firearm, resisting arrest, and drug charges.
Attorney Juan Huerta spoke on behalf of Aguilar-Jimenez, negotiating a mandatory minimum on his fines as well as confirming a two-year time period as opposed to three years. They also confirmed a distanced form of probation check-ins, given current Covid-related restrictions.
While negotiating, Huerta advocated on behalf of Aguilar-Jimenez, apologizing for his behavior by affirming his good character and restating the gravity of his charges, describing that “we have spoken to Mr. Aguilar numerous times about his conduct and the changes he needs to make. This can’t happen again, the consequences will be extremely severe—probably state prison.”
Eddie Ruiz, defending codefendant Cortes, spoke in a similar manner; negotiating minimal fines and remote check-ins. The judge as well as public defender Aaron Corey were both comfortable with both the terms presented by both attorneys.
Although the judge accepted both attorneys’ suggested terms of probation, she expressed great disapproval of the men’s actions, specifically addressing Cortes, who filmed their incident.
She condemned his behavior, stating that “this was not a very good idea, what you went through with your codefendant…taking photographs or a video of what you did was beyond incredible. You can do better than this, OK?” He proceeded to nod in understanding, while his attorney expressed his apologies.
Along with scheduling a mutually available date for the first probation check-in, the judge explained all terms of their probation, stating that she would “incorporate and reference all of the terms and conditions in the probation order, which we will go over.”
She proceeded to catalog conditions such as random standardized drug testing, prohibition from consuming alcohol or entering liquor stores, six-month license suspension, prohibition from association with illegal drug sellers and from illegal drug consumption, as well as the inability to possess firearms or ammunition.
There were also terms which required more in-person devotion, such as 100 hours of community service, and enlisting in the first offender DUI program.
Lastly, one condition required the dismissal of the defendants’ 4th Amendment right—the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. The judge stated they will be subject to “submit their personal property and vehicles to search and seizure at any time day or night by a peace officer, probation officer, without warrant or cause.” Defendants had to agree to this condition.
On the night of their original charges, Aguilar-Jimenez and Cortes were arrested, in October of 2020. Police originally responded to reports of the pair firing a gun into the ocean at approximately 2 a.m. near the intersection of Camino Del Sur and Del Playa in Isla Vista.
Officers quickly found and stopped the car. However, Aguilar-Jimenez and Cortes refused to exit the vehicle, leading to a tense 50-minute stand-off before the pair finally surrendered.
Officers found a gun, ammunition, and a controlled substance in the vehicle. Both were charged with negligent discharge of a firearm, failure to obey a peace officer, resisting arrest, conspiracy, and possession of a controlled substance. Aguilar-Jimenez further faced a DUI charge.