Five Agree to Plea Deal, Sentenced for 2nd Degree Burglary for Stealing 30 Pot Plants


By Zoey Hou 

SACRAMENTO, CA– In Judge Helen R. Gweon’s courtroom here in Sacramento County Superior Court Wednesday, five men met with their respective attorneys to discuss the possibility of a global resolution for all parties—one man agreed to prison time, and the others to six months in jail.

“On Aug. 25, 2019, in the county of Sacramento, defendants Christopher Burns, Todd Findley, Altron Lee, Kevin McArthur, and Melvin String committed a felony in second degree burglary,” reported Deputy District Attorney Nick Karp.

“The defendants unlawfully entered Mediform Limited with the intent to commit larceny and any other felony inside, specifically through the use of a crowbar. They entered Mediform Limited, which is a commercial establishment, and stole 30 marijuana plants that held a value of approximately $40,000,” according to the prosecution.

Karp offered a resolution to Burns, Findley, Lee, and McArthur for 180 days in custody with no objection to alternative sentencing (such as Sheriff’s Work Project instead of jail time), two years of formal probation, a stay away order from 1500 Frienza Avenue (the location of Mediform Limited), and to-be-determined restitution. 

As for the accused String, there was an agreement made that his sentencing would be put out a couple of weeks later with a Cruz waiver, which is “a promise by an out-of-custody defendant to stay out of trouble,” promising to return to court for a sentencing hearing; if they do not return, they run the risk of a harsher punishment. 

String was offered a different sentence of a low term resolution for 16 months in state prison because of his previous strike conviction.

String’s defense attorney Reyes asked the prosecutor  for an extra week due to the information that his defendant had to take his daughter to Texas to be taken care of while he is in custody.

Karp agreed and String will return Oct. 4.

A second matter that occurred regarding Karp’s terms for the plea agreement was Todd Findley’s defense attorney, Param Pabla, who mentioned a trailing misdemeanor for his client that he wanted to clarify would be dismissed with a Harvey waiver. 

A Harvey waiver implies that when a defendant agrees to dismiss charges, it may potentially be considered against him for the purpose of sentencing.

Prosecutor Karp agreed that the misdemeanor would be dismissed with the Harvey waiver only if Findley paid restitution to that previous victim’s establishment, adding “the reason we are entering into this agreement is because this is an early resolution agreement and in the interest of justice, it is serving the benefit of all parties and all sides including the victim, Mediform Limited.” 

After standard procedures had been conducted, Judge Gweon stated, “The offense to which each of you will be pleading to carries a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison.”

She added, “Codefendants in this case are having their cases resolved and I want to make sure that each of you are entering your plea because you are guilty and this is in your best interest–not in exchange for any perception that leniency is given to your codefendants.” 

With all parties submitted, the four defendants, Burns, Findley, Lee, and McArthur were instructed to report to the probation department, as ordered by Judge Gweon. 

About The Author

Zoey Hou is a bay area native pursuing English and International Relations at UC Davis. She strongly advocates for criminal justice transparency and institutional change.

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