Judge Sentences First-time Offender to Jail, Even Though It May Lead to Loss of Job Held for 19 Years

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By Talia Kruger

VENTURA, CA – Although sporting an otherwise clean record, a man was sentenced here in Ventura County Superior Court Friday to 90 days in county jail for a first time felony drug offense, despite his defense attorney’s suggestion the man could lose his job of 19 years if given jail time.

The judge did suggest he could do all or part of the sentence on electronic monitoring.

Daniel Moreno Sanchez pleaded to the felony charge of possession of a controlled substance with a firearm and was appearing in court for his sentencing hearing.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Minoui explained to Judge Bruce Young that despite Sanchez having no prior record, Sanchez was found using cocaine, “passed out…(at) 6 in the morning in a residential neighborhood…when officers arrived…they observed a loaded 9mm handgun in plain view.”

Minoui added it was of major concern Sanchez had been driving around under the influence of cocaine and with a loaded firearm. 

According to the defense. Sanchez had no prior criminal record as a 37-year-old, had shown remorse and it was a one-time occurrence. And Sanchez has been out of custody for six to seven months and has had no negative contact with police, and completed a four-month rehab drug outpatient program. 

According to the defense, avoiding jail time with Sanchez’s sentence was imperative to helping Sanchez remain a productive citizen in society.

Sanchez has worked for the city of Oxnard for 19 years, and he had recently been put on administrative leave. Sanchez’ supervisors indicated if he were to receive custody time he would likely be let go.

The defense asked Judge Young to allow Sanchez to remain at his job and continue to be a productive citizen and requested for Young to stay the sentence for 180 days.

“He’s very well liked in the community…he is a low risk to reoffend,” explained the defense attorney, referencing how he had collected and submitted numerous character references from Sanchez’s coworkers, employer, and friends.

Upon hearing Jacob’s defense of his client, Judge Young said he “had read Mr. Sanchez’s statement in this case and he is remorseful and I appreciate his candor about that.

“There are consequences, I don’t think there’s been a very valid explanation as to how a 19-year employee at one of the municipalities here is…passed out in a car at 6 a.m. with drugs and a weapon so…I won’t ask for an answer today but that is a concerning circumstance,” said Judge Young.

Judge Young stated that he didn’t “[t]hink job safety is a compelling reason for the court to say I’m not going to put him in custody,” arguing the responsibility in the case was on Mr. Sanchez.

Judge Young sentenced Sanchez to serve 24 months felony probation and to do 90 days in Ventura County Jail.

However, and maybe in a move that could save Sanchez’ job, the judge said he “[w]ould not stand in the way of electronic monitoring if the Sheriff’s department approves that.”

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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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