Tardy, Botched Court Reports Lead Judge to Postpone Sentencing

Interior of the County Courthouse building (Santa Barbara, California).

By Joseph Shepard

SANTA BARBARA, CA – As a result of tardy, botched court reports, Juan Hernandez will have to spend another day or so in custody awaiting sentencing from Judge Michael Carrozzo in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Dept. 12.

Judge Carrozzo opted to delay the sentencing Monday, noting there’s “a lot is at stake” in the case.

Hernandez, who appeared via Zoom while in custody, has pleaded guilty to numerous felonies—including second degree robbery, kidnapping, and attempting to dissuade someone from testifying at a trial. In addition to his felony charges, Hernandez faced enhancements for his use of a firearm.

His charges date back to an incident in January of 2019.

Judge Carrozzo—speaking to the parties involved via Zoom—stated that, due to a recent update report that the court did not have and a probation report that did not include certain charges, “this case needs more attention and it needs more review.” 

Due to the seriousness of the crimes, Judge Carrozzo emphasized the need to reach a fair determination and wanted to allow all the parties involved to examine any information regarding the case that may become available in the next few days. He also added that “a lot is at stake” in this case.

Despite the postponement of the sentencing, Judge Carrozzo did allow for the testimony of a character witness chosen by the defense to proceed because of the witness’ inability to appear on the new, rescheduled date.

In their statement, the witness claimed that the defendant “is not a bad person,” and that he has shown that “he has grown and he is more mature and understanding.” 

The witness acknowledged the seriousness of the defendant’s actions, but continued to attest to his positive qualities, stating that he “was not in the right sense of mind” when he committed the crimes.

In addition, the witness claimed that “he will be good if he’s out,” and explained some personal circumstances that they believed warranted consideration.

After the conclusion of the statement, Judge Carrozzo explained that he would produce a detailed sentencing sheet for the next hearing, claiming that there was “a little more work” that he needed to do in order to allow the sentencing to proceed. 

Both the defense and the prosecution were satisfied with Judge Carrozzo’s decision.

The postponed sentencing hearing will take place on Thursday.

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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