Two of Three People Plead No Contest to Charges of Bringing Contraband into Merced Jail; Missing Evidence in 3rd Case

By Gwynneth Redemann

MERCED, CA – Anthony Aguilar and Dolores Bartley, charged with bringing contraband into the John Latorraca Correctional Facility in Merced, pleaded no contest in a hearing Friday in Merced County Superior Court.

According to the charges read aloud by Judge Ronald Hansen, on Sept. 8, Bartley, acting in concert with two others, “unlawfully brought controlled substances into the John Latorraca Correctional Center together with paraphernalia.”

Bartley, represented by Public Defender Jeffrey Castleton, pleaded “no contest” to this count.

Judge Hansen proceeded to sentence her to nine months in jail, with 129 days of credit. The sentencing and full terms of probation are to be set on Dec. 10.

Judge Hansen then proceeded with the charges against Aguilar. Acting in concert with Bartley, Aguilar, represented by Public Defender Beth Lee, also pleaded “no contest.”

Judge Hansen sentenced Aguilar to two years of formal probation, in addition to six months of jail time with 24 days already served. Aguilar is also set to return to court on Dec. 10 for completion of sentencing.

In regard to the third defendant in this case, Paul Ochoa, the defense attorney, Armando Lope, claimed to have never received the recorded phone calls that allegedly implicated his client in the discovery.

Lope stated, “I have requested this multiple times from Ms. Compton, from Mr. Asdorian, I still have not received it.”

Lope claimed that the initial request for these phone calls was sent on Sept. 14 and that he also followed up in October. He stated, “I have not received the calls and to be adequately prepared, I do have to listen to those calls.”

Lope requested that Ochoa be released with an electronic monitor, because the extended time needed to review the phone calls “was through no fault of his own.”

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Serratto, stepping in for the lead prosecutor Blake Asdorian, was eventually able to provide the recorded phone calls to Lope.

After determining that there were only “three or four” calls to review, Judge Hansen set the preliminary hearing for later.

About The Author

Gwynneth is a senior at UC Davis, studying Political Science and Anthropology. She is from Ventura, California.

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