Domestic Violence Case Reduction Motion Denied in Stabbing Incident

By Natalia Ruvalcaba

WOODLAND, CA – Judge Peter Williams here in Yolo County Superior Court has denied a request to reduce charges from a felony to a misdemeanor in a case involving the accused, who pleaded no contest to stabbing his then-sleeping girlfriend in the face while he was high on methamphetamine.

Deputy Public Defender Jose Gonzalez requested a sidebar conversation with Judge Williams and Deputy District Attorney Jesse Richardson before sentencing.

After about three minutes of discussion, the counsels returned to their positions, and Judge Williams sentenced the accused to three years of formal probation and filed a criminal protective order for the victim of this incident.

The accused, who was being held on $100,000 bail, didn’t have to serve any further jail time—he had already been in custody for more than a year—because the court noted his youth and no prior record. The felony will count as a strike.

In defense of the accused, PD Gonzalez noted that the probation report described his client as a “low-risk to reoffend” as well as being “assessed for the lowest number of domestic violence classes.”

The motion to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor was filed into court, and PD Gonzalez reported that the defendant has more than a year of credits.

He then argued to the court, “Just so everyone knows we aren’t just trying to get this done and just get him off of probation or anything, we would waive any number of credits to keep him on probation for three years and have him follow through with supervision and the classes.”

However, DDA Richardson opposed the requested reduction, noting that a reduction was not in the agreed-upon disposition and that the severity of the crime does not warrant it.

DDA Richardson recounted the domestic violence report that stated, the accused “is alleged to have stabbed his sleeping girlfriend in the face with a pair of scissors while high on methamphetamine.”

Despite there being several mitigating factors that DDA Richardson and PD Gonzalez both discussed, they do not warrant a reduction, asserted the DDA, but rather what led to a probation offer rather than a prison sentence.

Deputy Probation Officer Arthur Arustamyan then told the court that the report contained several errors, the main being the requirement of an unusual case finding.

He noted that under PC section 1203(e)(2) “a deadly weapon was used in the offense and an unusual case can be found in that the defendant has no prior record and he’s relatively youthful among other things.”

Judge Williams said that he would use the updated report that was filed by probation, but these circumstances don’t change the outcome.

“The fact that he was on meth is, I guess, somewhat an excuse for his behavior, enough to get him to the probation we’re talking about now. But stabbing his girlfriend in the face is just not something I can reduce.”

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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