COURT WATCH: Plea Deal Hearing Turns into Request for a Preliminary Hearing After Accused Claims He ‘Didn’t Do Those Things’ 

By Brinda Kalita

MODESTO, CA – In Stanislaus County Superior Court Friday, at the last minute, a plea deal hearing turned into a request for a preliminary hearing where the accused was charged with transporting methamphetamine and for driving with a suspended license.

Prior to the hearing, the prosecution made a deal with the accused’s defense counsel that he would be sentenced to three years in a Stanislaus County jail. Originally, the hearing was just held so that the accused could submit a no contest plea, and for this deal to be properly initiated.

But, during the hearing, the accused had asked Judge Robert Westbrook if there was a possibility that he would be sent to the California Department of Corrections. Judge Westbrook replied that if that were the case, “the CDCR would send you right back here and laugh at us.”

However, as Judge Westbrook was finalizing the deal and listing the charges the accused would be pleading guilty to, the accused suddenly exclaimed that he “didn’t do those things.”

Judge Westbrook then asked the accused’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Christopher Rhee, if he would like to hold a preliminary hearing instead of accepting the deal. After talking among themselves, the defense decided it would move forward with a preliminary hearing for the case.

However, the accused then quickly asked Deputy District Attorney Harshan Singh Samra if the deal could be still made if they go through with a preliminary hearing.

DDA Samra said he “can’t make any promises” if they go through a preliminary hearing.

DDA Samra also added the prosecution would attempt to hold the accused more accountable for other issues, such as not showing up to court on time while the accused had felony charges against him.

The preliminary hearing will be held on June 5.

About The Author

Brinda is a student at UC Riverside, pursuing a degree in History with a Law and Society emphasis. She plans to attend law school after receiving her bachelors.

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