By Angelina Sang
LOMPOC, CA – Judge Von Deroian of the Lompoc Division of Santa Barbara County Superior Court Tuesday sentenced Jeannette Almanza—who was facing eight misdemeanors and one felony burglary charge—to a suspended prison sentence on her felony count.
Previously, Almanza earlier, with a different judge, was offered a plea deal dismissing her misdemeanors with Harvey waivers. But the felony charge, and prison, remained.
“Originally the defendant was going to get two years of probation with 180 days…she was released to a treatment program and she was only there for about a day and a half before she left and then was exited from the program because she tested dirty,” stated Assistant District Attorney Noah Abolafia-Rosenzweig.
Almanza’s probation records detail a “lengthy history of violations on supervision,” said DA Abolafia-Rosenzweig. He urged the disposition to consider Almanza’s history “in a way that we’re not just going to end up in the same situation that we were at when she [Almanza] was released on the Cruz waiver.”
Both DA Abolafia-Rosenzweig and Almanza’s Assistant Public Defender Adrian Galvan touched on the struggles Almanza has endured and her willingness to turn her life around. DA Abolafia-Rosenzweig noted that Almanza is someone who struggles with mental illness, and PD Galvan mentioned his client’s “long history of trauma.”
Though Almanza left her assigned treatment program and came back without clear drug tests, PD Galvan said “Miss Almanza has asserted to me that she wants to be sober, she wants a sober environment, and that she is planning on going to a bed at the sober living home.”
Judge Deroian acknowledged Almanza’s noncompliant probation history and offered the attorneys time to discuss it, but adamantly told the court “I’m not going to sentence her to prison…that’s not my intention,” suggesting that Almanza’s past trauma and Almanza’s future commitment to her sobriety may have presented mitigating factors.
After the attorneys deliberated and offered their points, Judge Deroian said “we’re changing it from ISS to a suspended sentence of two years,” giving Almanza less flexibility should she later violate probation again. Almanza will have a two-year prison suspended sentence, serve probation for two years, serve 180 days in county jail, pay restitution, and take a plea on one of her new misdemeanors.
Almanza will go on probation for the next two years and receive treatment.
Judge Deroian told Almanza, “Ms. Almanza you’re going to go home today, you have two years hanging over your head, it’s your decision whether you want to live your life the way you’re living it or if you want to change. I believe you can change, it sounds like you want to do the right thing, so get the help that’s being offered.”