Judge Won’t Reduce Charges against Former Teacher in 15-Year-Old Case

By Natalia Ruvalcaba

MODESTO, CA – Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Linda McFadden last Friday denied a 17(b) motion to reduce felony charges for a former teacher, whose case is 15 years old and involved an alleged sexual relationship with one of his students.

Deputy Public Defender Crystal Fernandez argued, “Because he did violate probation it became discretionary and I would just like to point out to the court it’s been 15 years, there are no new violations, no new criminal cases. He has been a productive and positive member of society…this is causing harm in terms of employment and housing.” 

PD Fernandez reported the accused was deeply regretful for his previous actions, and wished to move forward in his life. 

In response to PD Fernandez’s statement, Judge McFadden noted that the victim involved in this crime would be able to appear and speak in front of the court.  

Judge McFadden added, “This is a situation where the defendant took advantage of a position of trust, not in the normal situation always for this type of offense, so I imagine that’s part of the reason why it was filed as a felony.” She continued to take notice of the man’s failure to follow the rules of probation.

The acused was formerly a teacher at Pitman High School and maintained a consensual sexual relationship with one of his students from 2007 to 2008. While the victim noted that she did not want the teacher to be sent to jail, the accused was sentenced to 210 days in jail and three years of probation in 2008.

While the accused has appropriately completed his required courses and paid his fines, Judge McFadden noted, “Given the facts in this case, well I understand that this probably does have an impact on him being able to work, I would certainly think it has on impact on being able to be a teacher anymore. It should. We certainly don’t want teachers involved with our children in this manner.”

Judge McFadden explained the accused’s behavior hasn’t really been “outstanding, given the events in this case, that the court would deem this to make this a misdemeanor,” and denied the motion to reduce this felony matter.

About The Author

Natalia is a fourth year at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Sociology and minoring in Public Affairs. She looks forward to attending law school in the future, where she hopes to advocate for immigrant rights and/or environmental justice.

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