Judge Denies Motion to Reduce a Felony to Misdemeanor on Alleged Racially-Motivated Attack

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By Ankita Joshi

ALAMEDA, CA – Citing the seriousness of an offense, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Karin Schwartz denied a petition today to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor even as the accused’s demonstrated commitment to sobriety and change.

The prosecution suggested a “racial” motivation for the crime.

The hearing began with Judge Schwartz passing two of the four petitions presented by the defense—both were presented unopposed for a 2005 disturbing the peace infraction, and a 2017 DUI misdemeanor for Adam Prattmajesky.

Judge Schwartz then continued by reading from a letter given by Prattmajesky where he expressed his regret over his actions and how his “relationship with alcohol speckled his life with turmoil and poor decisions.”

Prior to his arrest, Prattmajesky had been an EMT for 14 years, and had worked in a hospital for 11 years.

He had opened up a bar with a friend when he was charged with a DUI and a felony charge while celebrating the success they were having, and had subsequently lost his job at the hospital.

Since his arrest, however, Prattmajesky had shown a dramatic change in behavior and a commitment to his sobriety, as commented on by the several letters of support that Judge Schwartz read from.

In her letter, the accused’s wife of three years noted that Prattmajesky’s “biggest struggle was his alcohol problem,” but he was much better now.

She also expressed worry that her husband’s felony charge and the stigma around his criminal history might negatively affect the business that they were hoping to open up together.

The two other letters of support from the Santa Clara Probation Department, and the Cypress Mandela Training Center corroborated the accused’s “high principles and integrity,” as well as his work ethic and leadership abilities.

However, Deputy District Attorney Veronica Rios Reddick voiced opposition against granting relief on the 1203.4, and 17(b) petitions.

First, on the PC § 1203.4 petition, which allows for a dismissal of charges once a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of their probation, DDA Reddick contended that since the victim still has “difficulty eating as a consequence to this unprovoked act,” the motion should be denied.

On the PC § 17(b) motion, which reduces a felony charge to a misdemeanor, DDA Rios recounted that the accused is white, while the victim is African American, and Prattmajesky allegedly yelled, “You f***ing African!” at the victim three times before assaulting him.

The victim had been getting gas at a gas station when Prattmajesky approached him, and yelled at him.

When the victim went inside the gas station to avoid Prattmajesky, the accused followed and proceeded to punch the victim in the face.

After the victim pushed Prattmajesky away, the accused armed himself with his keys, and came back to repeatedly hit the victim in the head and neck with his keys in his fist.

In response to these contentions, Assistant Public Defender Mona Patel responded that the 1203.4 petition should be granted as a matter of the law, as Prattmajesky had no probation violations, and had paid the restitution in full.

Judge Schwartz agreed with this line of argument, and granted relief.

On the 17(b) petition, Patel argued that Prattmajesky’s “conduct was not a part of a pattern of aggressive behavior,” and Prattmajesky immediately reached out for help after the incident.

Nevertheless, Judge Schwartz disagreed, commenting that “despite an extremely strong record that he is reengaging with society,” the seriousness of the offense warranted a denial of the motion.

“But given the nature of the offense, the seriousness of the offense, and the recency of the offense, the court thinks it’s premature to grant relief under 17(b),” she stated.

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About The Author

Ankita Joshi is a second-year student at the University of San Francisco, pursuing a major in International Studies and a minor in Political Science. She is originally from Sacramento, CA.

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