By Angelina Sang
LOMPOC – Judge Raimundo Montes De Oca somewhat reluctantly allowed Jaime Coria with five serious charges to take a plea deal Tuesday here in Santa Barbara County Court, dismissing two cases with Harvey waivers, which drop charges but put the defendant at risk with restitution claims later.
Coria was charged with five cases ranging from disorderly conduct to a hit-and-run until Assistant Public Defender Mary Huft and Deputy District Attorney Noah Abolafia-Rosenzweig negotiated a global disposition.
Two of Coria’s more serious charges—the auto theft and hit-and-run—were dropped with Harvey waivers and his remaining felonies were reduced to misdemeanors.
In return, Coria pleaded ‘no contest’ to his remaining misdemeanors and waived a series of constitutional rights, including but not limited to a right to a speedy public jury trial, confronting and cross-examining witnesses testifying against him, subpoena rights, and the right to remain silent.
Interestingly, Abolafia-Rosenzweig specifically warned Coria how “a criminal defendant has the right to appeal but your[Coria’s] agreement is a negotiated plea, and part of that agreement is you[Coria] are giving up your right to appeal, specifically waive and give up all rights regarding state and federal writs and appeals.” Coria agreed.
In order for two of Coria’s charges to be dismissed, he also agreed to sign Harvey waivers.
Harvey waivers are agreements defendants sign during a plea deal that allow for any dropped charges to still be considered during the sentencing phase. Under California law, victims are entitled to recover the full economic amount for any reasonable losses or expenses they underwent due to another’s criminal offense (California Penal Code section 1192.3(b)).
As such, Harvey waivers are generally used to protect this right, allowing victims to maintain their rights to restitution even if a case is dismissed.
In Coria’s case, Judge Montes De Oca expressed concern over the fact that the seriousness of Coria’s charges dismissed with Harvey waivers may incur restitution. “OK, but…there’s a hit-and-run in 1520 so I know there’s probably restitution somewhere,” Judge Montes De Oca said.
However, PD Huft “did not see any restitution” on the hit-and-run as of yet.
Backing Huft up, DDA Abolafia-Rosenzweig replied, “I don’t have a restitution amount at this point, but for all of the counts and cases that are being dismissed with Harvey Waivers, any restitution determined will be placed on 5091[the main case].”
After reiterating the conditions of Coria’s deal, Judge Raimundo Montes De Oca approved the plea agreement set forth by Huft and Abolafia-Rosenzweig. Coria’s sentencing is set for Nov. 23.