COURT WATCH: Yolo County Judge Denies Probation, Sentences First-Time Offender with ‘Lot of Promise’ to 6 Years for Armed Robbery

By Madison Whittemore

WOODLAND, CA – Despite acknowledging an accused man’s lack of criminal history and future with a “lot of promise,” Yolo County Superior Court Judge Samuel McAdam this week denied both the defense request to release the accused on probation and request for a surrender date, immediately sending the accused to a state prison sentence of six years.

The accused, who was present and in custody, is charged with armed robbery and an additional two enhancements for assault with a firearm and infliction of great bodily injury.

“This case presents a really unusual situation,” Judge McAdam remarked while shaking his head before asking for appearances of the attorneys.

Deputy Public Defender David Nelson, representing the accused, explained his client had previously agreed to take a plea on the second degree robbery charge with two enhancements.

However DPD Nelson requested the court recognize and consider how many letters of support the accused had received from friends and family as well as an apology letter the accused sent to the victim.

Noting the accused had no prior criminal history, no substance abuse problems and no mental health problems, DPD Nelson explained to Judge McAdam that despite the accused taking the plea, he is an ideal candidate for being released on whatever conditions of probation the court sees as appropriate.

When questioned about the state of the victim, Deputy District Attorney David Wilson explained that the victim is stable but has to take blood thinning medications daily.

“Part of his aorta was severed and as a result he will face a lifetime risk of stroke or death if he does not take daily aspirin or other medication,” DDA Wilson explained, also adding that there were two co-accused also charged with great bodily injury enhancements and have already been sentenced to state prison.

Judge McAdam noted how traumatic the incident was for the victim, referring to the assault as a “heartbreaking story,” where the victim allegedly had a hose around his neck and was struck with a pistol.

However, despite the tragic nature of the assault, Judge McAdam did recognize the fact that the accused had no history of felony or misdemeanor charges and was a first time offender who recognized the consequences of his actions.

“Yet [the accused] comes to us and didn’t have any criminal record, he’s got all these friends and family in support, and I mean it’s a tragedy really, and he apologizes, he’s taken responsibility in acknowledging he was a part of that,” Judge McAdam stated, continuously reiterating how tragic the situation is for both the victim, who is seriously injured, and for the accused, who “has a lot of promise.”

Judge McAdam also added that he knows the accused has multiple children and provides a lot of financial support to his family.

“It’s just maddening that we’re here,” Judge McAdam reiterated, still continuing to shake his head in disbelief, even agreeing that the accused is a “good candidate” for probation.

However, despite acknowledging the multiple factors that make the accused a candidate for being released on probation, Judge McAdam ultimately ruled, “the crime was so horrific and was so terrifying that we are really left with no other solution at this point in time,” sentencing the accused to a six year prison sentence and issuing an order of restitution for $32,800 (the amount to be compensated by the accused for property damage).

Judge McAdam explained his decision by citing several reasons for sentencing, including protecting society and abiding by the “community standard.”

DPD Nelson accepted Judge McAdam’s ruling but requested the accused be given a surrender date in Dec. 2023. This request was made in consideration of some family matters the accused must attend to so he can ensure his children are taken care of in his absence.

However, Judge McAdam also denied this request and asserted there were ways to sort out the situation with his children from inside of prison.

The accused “just needs to cooperate and be a good citizen within the four walls of the state prison,” Judge McAdam concluded, wishing the accused well and assuring him that he would still come out of prison a “young man” since he is now only 33 years old.

About The Author

Madison Whittemore is a rising junior at the University of California, Davis where she studies political science and psychology. After completing her undergraduate studies, Madison wants to go to law school and study criminal law while working to improve efforts for prison reform and representation for lower income citizens.

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