By Alexis Rios-Jimenez
VENTURA, CA – Gabriel Armando Mendoza pleaded not guilty here in Ventura County Superior Court this week at his pretrial hearing on a warrant, with Judge Patricia Murphy presiding.
Mendoza, pleading to the felony charge of carrying a concealed dirk or dagger—punishable by up to three years in jail, was accompanied by Deputy Public Defender Matthew Benitez, with Deputy District Attorney Jillian Ewan present as well.
The felony falls under California Penal Code section 21310, which defines a dirk or dagger as a sharp instrument that could be used as a stabbing weapon capable of inflicting great bodily injury or death. This definition excludes most pocketknives, which are retractable, with the exception of those which are locked in place.
Those charges include allegedly being in possession of a controlled substance which falls under Health and Safety Code section 11377 (a), the code for the possession of methamphetamine which is punishable by a possible sentence of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The second misdemeanor charge is for allegedly being in possession of drug paraphernalia which carries a possible penalty of up to six months in county jail and $1,000 fine.
Defense Counsel Benitez asked for a pre-trial conference to be set, which Judge Murphy scheduled for Oct. 19. A jury trial has also been calendared for Oct. 26, with the last day for trial ending on Nov. 28.
As the court moved on to the next case, the accused asked the judge if he would be released on his own recognizance and no bail, to which Judge Murphy said no, but that there’d be a chance to take the matter up again during his pre-trial conference.