Judge Orders Man to County Jail after Felony Elder Theft, Other Crimes

VENTURA, CA – During Michael Capelli’s lengthy sentencing hearing last Thursday in Ventura County Superior Court, the judge considered what she called all aspects of his crimes and made adjustments to the counsel’s request of probation, ordering the accused to county jail.

Capelli was charged with felony theft from an elder involving the unlawful taking of a vehicle, misdemeanor possession of controlled substances, and felony failure to register. He had pleaded guilty to all these charges. 

Judge Patricia Murphy recalled the indicated sentence given by the court at the time of the plea, in which formal probation would be granted for the case involving the theft charges, and denied for the case involving the failure to register charge. 

Capelli’s counsel, Public Defender Damon Jenkins, agreed with the sentencing, before asking the court for “minimal fines and fees due to the defendant’s lack of ability to pay.”

Jenkins then informed the judge of a residential treatment program that Capelli is enrolled in, and requested Capelli be released early on his own recognizance.

The court’s original intention, however, was to give Capelli 365 days in the county jail and probation, which was determined with “significant consideration in finding that it was the appropriate case to have him on probation.”

“I don’t intend to go much lower than that [sentence],” Judge Murphy explained. “I would suggest that in a month prior to his release date if a spot is available at a treatment program that is suitable for him [Capelli], then I will release him at that time so that he can go straight into the program.”

However, in light of everything else that has been taken into consideration, the judge was not inclined to grant the release anytime sooner. 

The sentencing began with the case involving the charge of theft from an elder and unlawful taking of a vehicle, which Judge Murphy found in the interest of justice, leading to her decision to grant probation. 

The finding was made as “although the crime involved an elder adult and the taking of a vehicle, there was no threat of violence but only moderate loss.”  

The judge denied probation on this case and ordered Capelli to serve 90 days in the county jail consecutively to the probation period. 

Regarding the misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, probation was also denied and Capelli was ordered to serve 90 days in the county jail, concurrently with the sentence for the felony charge. 

The judge finally granted a criminal protective order requested, but Capelli then expressed his concerns regarding the protective order, since he lived with the protected individual before, and she has a past of hiding his personal belongings in her house. 

It was suggested that his concern be addressed in the next hearing June 30.

About The Author

Tommy is a sophomore majoring in Economics and minoring in Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He is an international student from Vietnam and fueled with the frustration agaisnt flawed justice system that lets down the minority. He is aspired to become a criminal justice attorney and will hopefully attend law school in 2025.

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