Judge Sentences U.S. Navy Retiree to County Jail, Not Prison – Defense Notes Man’s Mental Health Issues and Steps Taken to Better Himself

By Leslie Acevedo 

VENTURA, CA: The accused was sentenced here in Ventura County Superior Court Wednesday to 240 days in the Ventura County Jail on a felony assault with a deadly weapon charge from November, 2020—the prosecution wanted him to go to state prison.

The accused was not present and was represented by defense lawyer Action Lavitch. Judge Bryce A. Young heard the case, while Senior Deputy District Attorney Rameen Minoui represented the People.

An appeal by the defense of the conviction was filed Sept. 20.

Attorney Lavitch asked the court to reduce the state jail time to less than 365 days, noting the accused is in compliance with Proposition 63. The accused risk assessment was a nine, low on the risk assessment meaning he is deemed at low risk to offend, said the defense. The accused has nine days of credit.

Attorney Lavitch said the accused has finished counseling and therapy, among other treatments to help with his anger management and depression.

Judge Young said the accused is retired U.S. Navy, thanking him for his service.  The accused has a modest income through his retirement and disability income. However, the accused has an inability to pay court fees and fines, said the court.

DDA Minoui noted the length of the accused’s sentence stems from throwing a hatchet at the victim and prior behavior, and said a second strike may be appropriate. She added there is a DUI charge, triggering 120 days on the misdemeanor case.

Lavitch disagreed, arguing he hoped the accused will not face jail time because his client, the accused, had a lapse in mental health and is doing his best to show the court that this will never happen again.

But DDA Minoui argued the court should consider the strike because of the accused’s DUI in 2011 and 2013. Judge Young corrected Minoui, noting the DUI charges are from December 2020 and July 2013.

Although the judge recognized the steps the accused had taken, Judge Young imposed 240 days in the Ventura County Jail with nine days credit, a state restitution fine, and a second state restitution fine pending successful completion of 24-month felony probation.

An arraignment was scheduled for Dec. 22 on the misdemeanor case. 

About The Author

Leslie Acevedo is a senior undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach, majoring in Criminology/Criminal Justice. She intends to pursue a Master's Degree in Forensic Science or Criminal Justice. She aspires to become a forensic investigator.

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