COURT WATCH: Petition for Resentencing – Man Denied Reduced Sentence Gets Another Chance after Lack of Victim Input

By Helen Shamamyan 

OAKLAND, CA – A man who spent 18 years in prison for a conviction of eight counts of firearm use and attempted murder was denied a reduced sentence here in Alameda County Superior Court last week, despite good scores on the California Static Risk Assessment and acknowledgment from the judge that he was sentenced for an unusually long time for his charges.

But Judge Thomas Stevens said he may, at a March hearing, reconsider after receiving input from the victim and the victim’s family.

Deputy Public Defender Christina Moore expressed frustration with the facility in which her client currently resides, stating they are at a disadvantage due to the jail hindering communication between her and her client.

Deputy District Attorney Dana Drusinsky informed the court she received a proposal for resentencing from the public defender’s office on behalf of the accused, which she declined, citing “post-conviction conduct.”

Judge Stevens inquired about the misconduct record, stating that it did not look “promising,” to which DPD Moore pointed out that most of the write-ups were non-criminal violations and behaviors, such as “moving a hand sanitizer.”

Court records revealed the accused was rated as a Level 1 risk while also being a Level 4 security classification, which is a medium security classification.

Despite this classification, however, DPD Moore notes evaluations of potential levels of criminal personality, anger issues, drug issues or educational impairments were all scored as zero, the lowest possible risk level.

The probabilities of re-offense, as well as psychological issues that may contribute to the dangers of allowing for earlier parole, are particularly low chances, especially given the accused has already served nearly two decades of his sentence, according to DPD Moore.

The Public Defender’s Office asked for a reduction of the firearm enhancement charge to 10 years, which Judge Stevens notes is typically 25 to life. DPD Moore added California Penal Code section 1172.1 was devised as a way of creating “uniformity” in sentencing.

The accused was sentenced before a jury almost 20 years ago. By today’s legal standards, DPD Moore’s client has an “extraordinarily long sentence” for a case that is “not a homicide,” as confirmed by Judge Stevens.

DDA Drusinsky verified no victim outreach has been initiated from either side, stating that input from the victim or their family would invite the courts to reconsider the possibility of resentencing at a later date. Judge Stevens said it is at his discretion to ask for a statement or opinion from the victim, given that the assault from decades ago left him in a state of paralysis.

DPD Moore offered to work with a social worker to reach out to the victim if that is the only thing that would deter a consideration for resentencing.

However, she notes in the record the jail in which her client resides has been creating miscommunications by “moving him around” frequently, causing her to be unprepared for her client to make appearances at his own hearings, resulting in the accused missing the last four court dates.

Judge Stevens eventually denied the request without prejudice, but confirmed another hearing March 14, anticipating either a statement from the victim or a reply filed by DPD Moore.

About The Author

I am a student from Southern California that's graduating this year from UC Berkeley. Prior to coming here, I worked as a court watch/ law clerk for a PEO in worker's comp cases of California warehouses. I reported the hearing summaries and outcomes to the employer and maintained correspondence with the attornies prior to and after each hearing on behalf of my boss. I have nearly completed by Bachelors in English, and I am planning on taking a break year before delving into law school to study civil rights defense.

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