By Ivan Villegas
WOODLAND, CA – “As soon as I found out who the rightful owner of that abandoned ticket was…no matter what your Honor’s ruling is today, I still intend to pay that back to him…that’s been my whole object of the game and it still is,” promised a man about to be sentenced here in Yolo County Superior Court Wednesday.
These words of remorse were expressed by a man, who will not be named because the charge is a non-felony, convicted of appropriation of stolen property at his sentencing hearing for a misdemeanor.
The crime took place more than two years ago, on July 10, 2020, after he was found to have stolen money from another person’s casino ticket at Cache Creek Casino.
The accused was found guilty about a week ago, Aug. 31, in a jury trial.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Tom Dyer asked Deputy District Attorney Aaron Rojas and Deputy Public Defender Katie De Anda for recommendations on sentencing.
DDA Rojas recommended one year of probation and that he be required to complete 100 hours of community service as well as paying restitution to the victim.
PD De Anda added that the accused should not have to pay any court fines or fees either, “he is indigent, so I would ask that he be focused on paying the restitution back versus court fines and fees.”
Judge Dyer then asked the victim if they would like to comment anything, who responded, “(Casino security] asked him if he’d pay it back, but he said no he wouldn’t pay it back,” evidently confused after hearing the accused say he would pay everything back.
“I was surprised to find that… the case was lowered from a felony to a misdemeanor. So I was very confused about that,” added the victim.
Before issuing a sentence, PD De Anda asked for Judge Dyer to consider the jail time that the accused had served, noting, “I believe that he has at least four days of actual credit.”
DDA Rojas reminded the judge that the defendant was already receiving “an enormous benefit of being sentenced on a misdemeanor even though the amount of the theft was well over the felony threshold.”
Ultimately, Judge Dyer reduced the original recommendation of 100 hours of community service to 30 hours of community service, waived fees if the probation was completed successfully and ordered the accused to pay $1,414.50 in restitution to the victim.