Deals Offered – One Over Initial Protest of Accused

By Talia Kruger

VENTURA, CA – It was a busy day here in one Ventura County Superior Courtroom Friday—both cases cut deals for those accused, including one over the protestation of the accused.

1ST CASE: ‘I’d Rather Drink Alcohol’

A woman tried to negotiate her alcohol consumption restriction and a protective restraining order out of her terms of release for probation, but in the end took a deal that reduced a felony to a misdemeanor.

The woman was arrested for the charges of felony unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle and receiving stolen property/motor vehicle, as well as the misdemeanor charge of resisting, obstructing, delaying of peace officer or EMT.

As terms for taking a plea deal, she was to plead guilty to the unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle charge in return for it being reclassified as a misdemeanor and the receiving stolen property charge would be dismissed.

However, Friday, as Judge Patricia Murphy was reading the terms of her release that day, the accused became upset.

Among other terms for release, she was ordered to stay away from the Paz apartment complex, and was informed that she had a no contact protective order filed against her by her former girlfriend.

This meant that she was not allowed to contact her in any way and had to stay at least 100 feet away from her at all times.

Additionally, as are terms in many probation orders, she was barred from alcohol consumption and being in places that chiefly sell alcoholic beverages.

When asked by Judge Murphy if she understood the terms of her probation, the accused responded angrily, “Tell me why I can’t drink alcohol and talk to my f**king girlfriend.”

Judge Murphy then asked her if she didn’t agree with the terms of probation, to which she responded, “I’d rather drink alcohol.”

The accused’s attorney advised her that this was “not a negotiation,” and pointed out that she was getting released that day.

Judge Murphy then asked her if she wanted to forfeit the deal, explaining that if she backed out then her charge wouldn’t be reduced to a misdemeanor.

The accused simply responded, “I’m good.” And was released on probation.

2ND CASE: Registered Sex Offender Granted Temporary Housing with 5 Minor Siblings

Judge Murphy allowed a registered sex offender to stay temporarily at his family home with his five siblings who are minors.

Leodan Huerta, a 21 year old man, was arrested on April 1, 2020, for committing the felony charge of lewd act upon a child.  He is classified via Meghan’s law as a level 3 or average risk offender and the victim of his crime was under the age of 14.

Huerta was ordered to serve a sentence of 365 days in Ventura County Jail starting March 29 of this year, however, he was released from custody on the 23rd of September this year.

Currently, Huerta is homeless and living in a car, and requested a modification to be made in his criminal protective order to allow him to stay in his family’s home.

But, because he is a registered sex offender, Huerta is not allowed to live with children.

His defense attorney explained Huerta has no other friends or relatives without children with which he could stay.

Additionally, his lawyer argued his mother did not work and could be home to supervise him when he is around his siblings. The defense attorney also made it clear his mother, who had appeared in court that day, was aware of the charges filed and her son’s conviction.

After a moment of looking through Huerta’s file, Judge Murphy agreed to allow Huerta to stay temporarily with his mother and child siblings.

However, Judge Murphy made it clear to his mother she must monitor Huerta  anytime he was home and around the children and that there could be no exceptions to this rule.

Judge Murphy scheduled his next hearing for Oct. 19.

About The Author

Talia Kruger is a 3rd year Criminology major at UC Irvine. She plans to get her paralegal certification and enter the legal field before eventually applying to law school. Her aim is to become an environmental attorney or criminal defense attorney, and advocate for criminal justice reform.

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