Request to Release Man Before Sentencing Denied; COVID-19 Places Hardship on His Family


By Simran Chahal and Fiona Davis

WOODLAND, CA – A defense attorney argued here Monday in Yolo County Superior Court that his client should be released two weeks before he is sentenced to serve 22 years in state prison so he could resolve family finances, a situation complicated by a COVID-19 outbreak in the county jail.

Although expressing sympathy for the defendant’s “destitute” wife, the judge denied the request, noting the harm Shawn Mathew Cederstrom caused,.

In March of this year, Cederstrom was charged with 25 felony counts that alleged he committed “lewd or lascivious acts with [a] child under 14 years [old].”

While he initially denied having committed these crimes during his arrangement, he then entered a no contest plea in August, where he pleaded to three of the listed charges. The rest were dismissed.

As part of his plea agreement, Cederstrom is expected to serve 22 years in state prison.

On Monday, a little over two weeks before sentencing, defense attorney Chris Cosca requested Cederstrom be released prior to sentencing, stating that Cederstrom needed to take care of some “personal and family business.”

Cosca explained Cederstrom’s wife has experienced “tremendous hardship,” and has struggled to gain access to crucial financial resources, as much of the couple’s shared billing, insurance, and banking records are currently placed under the defendant’s name.

According to Cosca, banks will not give her access to the family’s finances, billing companies will not speak to her for privacy reasons, and she has lost both her medical and dental insurance.

“The list goes on. She is really destitute right now,” Cosca stated emphatically.

Rises in positive COVID cases seen in the Yolo County Jail have prohibited the couple from visiting one another, and Cederstrom’s wife has not been able to get accounts signed over to her. The defense attorney reasoned Cederstrom and his wife would be able to resolve these problems before he is transferred to state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Rachel Raymond objected to this request, suggesting that – because the plea agreement held a nearly maximum sentence, Cederstrom may be a flight risk.

“I have concerns about, frankly, what’s the incentive for coming back. There really isn’t much one at all,” said the DDA, acknowledging there is “a COVID problem” at the jail. She recommended bringing in a notary to court on the day of sentencing to allow Cederstrom’s spouse the opportunity to complete the necessary paperwork.

As part of her objection, the deputy district attorney also read an impact statement written by the parents of the victim in this case.

In it, they stated that, even with the criminal protective order that has been issued to Cederstrom, they are still “unsure what the defendant would be capable of” if he were released, noting, “We do not feel safe with the defendant being on any temporary amount of time [the court] could offer.”

Judge David Rosenberg stated “there are so many victims of every crime,” and acting “out of good conscience,” he said he could not allow the temporary release of Cederstrom because of the nature of the charges and the sentence length.

In being “amenable to helping Ms. Cederstrom, ”Judge Rosenberg suggested alternative solutions, such as bringing in the notary to court on the day of sentencing – as previously stated by Raymond—or delaying the date of sentencing.

“She is an innocent party here,” Judge Rosenberg noted when referring to Cederstrom’s wife.

Defense attorney Cosca said he would bring in the notary by the date of the sentencing, set for Sept. 28.


About The Author

Fiona Davis considers herself to be a storyteller, weaving and untangling narratives of fiction and nonfiction using prose, verse, and illustrations. Beyond her third-year English studies at UC Davis, she can be seen exploring the Bay Area, pampering her cats and dogs, or making a mess of paint or thread or words in whatever project she’s currently working on.

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