By Kevin Barragan
WOODLAND, CA – Despite pleas this past week by the defense to “end the cycle” of incarceration in an accused’s family, the judge here in Yolo County Superior Court refused, describing the crimes as “horrible” and promising to make sure every enhancement counted before sentencing the man to 42 years in prison for a series of sexual crimes.
The accused has a record of both felony and misdemeanor charges and Judge Peter Williams listed them, including sexual assault that inflicted great bodily injury.
Deputy District Attorney C. Palumbo demanded the court deny a motion by the defense to exempt prior offenses committed by the accused to get a reduced prison sentence, stating, “I believe the maximum term should be a 52 determinate term on top of the 14 to life sentence.”
The defense pleaded, “It’s not extreme circumstances that’s the legal standard for Romero (motion), it’s simply to avoid an unjust sentence. The court should look at the nature and circumstances of the present felonies, the prior felony charges, and the individual’s character, background, and prospects.”
The accused has numerous strikes, starting at age 18 with a robbery conviction, but the defense said the court should not consider those offenses in determining his sentence.
“The whole purpose (of the motion) is to make sure an unjust sentence does not happen. If the court were to follow probation recommendations…it will lead to an unjust sentence,” argued the defense.
The defense acknowledged the accused was looking at a 20 year or longer sentence, but asked the court to not impose anything greater than the midterm because the accused has a “documented series of childhood trauma.”
The defense informed the court the accused acknowledged his wrongdoings from his convictions, including his robbery offense when he was 18. And he grew up with no paternal figure because he was incarcerated, in poverty and surrounded by gangs and other negative influences.
Defense counsel asked the court to end the cycle of how society expects African-American people to be and that history continues to repeat itself, noting the accused “practiced decorum and restraint out of respect for the trials and the charges against him. He was a well behaved and exemplary client. We should end the cycle. His father is in prison, now we have his son who’s looking at a life sentence who will be leaving a child behind.”
Judge Williams spoke directly to the accused, stating, “Your crimes are horrible, therefore I am going to uphold every enhancement of every year. Pursuant to 1385(a), I am going to strike your robbery offense which had nothing to do to your sexual assault charges and you were 18 at the time. I understand your struggles, but I am going to uphold every enhancement inflicted upon the victims of the sexual assault.”
With that, the accused was sentenced to 42 years and four months to life in state prison.