Man’s Felony Matter Reduced to Misdemeanor Probation – Prosecution Loses Argument 

By Tatiana Gasca 

ALAMEDA, CA — Judge Sharon Djemal in Alameda County Superior Court, Dept. 110, struggled to decide defendant Craig Jay Sickler’s final sentencing, after an unusual court resolution that was previously settled. 

Earlier this year, Sickler was charged with two felony counts of aggravated trespassing. His defense attorney, Loren Williams, initially disputed the charges with Deputy District Attorney Veronica Amaya Rios Reddick.

“This was a felony matter that was resolved to a misdemeanor at the sentencing in Dept. 11,” said Williams. 

However, legal issues arose when no final decision was made whether Sickler would carry on to one or two years of misdemeanor probation. 

“There’s an issue because the DA was seeking three years to some exception, and my position is that the charge he was sentenced to (was) only a one year probation,” said the defense. 

After reviewing California’s code of law, Judge Djemal agreed that the maximum probation sentence should be one year. Unless the court finds an exception—to which the defendant may be sentenced up to three years of supervised probation.

Defense attorney Williams, proceeded to argue that the previous DA was ineligible to set probation at a higher amount of time. 

“In this case, I think the issue was whether or not the DA could dictate that three years, or whether it needed to be something that a judge imposed based on their discretion,” addressed Williams. 

“I’m asking the court to oppose the (more than) one year probation…there is no basis for the court to impose an increased amount of probation,” argues Williams. 

Due to the indistinct charges brought against defendant Sickler, the court interpreted it as a case with only one year of probation.  

Judge Djemal clarified, “Therefore, the court is inclined to sentence Mr. Sickler one year of court probation.” In addition, Sickler was charged a $240 fine and a stay away order.

Before Sickler’s sentencing was finalized, Williams challenged the $240 fine. He believed that Sickler was incapable of paying off the fine amount. 

“Mr. Sickler is currently receiving mental services. Living in a residential house provided by La Familia. He receives SSI and wrap-around mental services. I do not believe he has the ability to pay,” argued Williams. 

Judge Djemal decided to not impose a $240 fine. Sickler’s second misdemeanor charge was dropped, and the case was settled with a one year misdemeanor probation. 

About The Author

Tatiana Gasca is a fourth year student at UC Berkeley, double majoring in Legal and Ethnic Studies. She is originally from Orange County, CA.

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