Judge Denies Sentence Reduction Despite Knowledge of Accused’s Childhood Emotional Neglect

By Tommy Nguyen

VENTURA, CA – A Ventura County Superior Court judge denied the accused’s request for a sentence reduction last Thursday, despite his counsel’s effort to explain his child neglect situation.

The accused was arrested for carjacking an Oxnard man with another co-accused in 2018. He was charged with felony carjacking and unlawful taking of a vehicle, to which he has pleaded guilty.

His mother and sister were present in the courtroom that day in support of him.

Assistant Public Defender Kelly Swanston requested that the PC section 667.5(b) one-year enhancement be struck and that the accused’s mid-term sentencing be reduced to a low-term based on “the ameliorated changes in the law since his original sentencing.”

Swanston explained that the accused was “a youth” at the time of the offense, and he was evidently neglected during his childhood.

However, in the statement of aggravation submitted by the prosecution, it was suggested Swanston had not demonstrated that the situation was a contributing factor.

Swanston believed that this is a case where the court should impose a low term, and was therefore asking the court for a two-year reduction.

The prosecution had no problem with the proposed striking of the enhancement. However, “based off of the accused’s statutes and criminal history,” the prosecution did not believe reduction to low term is appropriate.

Deputy District Attorney Ethel Hernandez said she does not believe that there is a connection between the accused’s troubled youth and his capability to commit criminal offenses. His current criminal history and CDC records indicate that there has been “no change in his behavior.”

The prosecution, therefore, asked that the court impose mid-term sentencing for the felony carjacking case, and one-third of the mid-term sentencing for the felony unlawful driving/taking of a vehicle case.

While Judge Bruce Young understood the circumstances that the accused was in, he found the original sentence was appropriate, and denied the sentence reduction.

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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