COURT WATCH: Accused Seeks Resentencing Lower than Original Agreement – Eventually Accepts Deal

By Kaylynn Chang 

OAKLAND, CA — A man already convicted petitioned the Alameda County Superior Court this week for a resentencing of his previous felony murder charge—although the deal was already struck, there were problems finalizing it.

Deputy Public Defender Michael Scott McCormick and Deputy District Attorney Dana Drusinsky reached a settlement beforehand for the accused to be resentenced to 16 years, but only if the accused would not file any additional petitions or motions. 

DDA Drusinsky also stated the accused had waived credits at the time of his plea, which extended his sentence as well. 

However, DPD McCormick argued during the hearing the sentence should be even lower than the one agreed upon with DDA Drusinsky. 

The defense claimed that even with applying midterm sentencing and the mandatory removal of priors due to a change in legislation, the accused should also get the waived credits back and made the claim that the current sentence is higher because of the priors.

Judge Tom Stevens noted the accused’s record reflected a weak rehabilitation path, four charges in prison, and inconsistent good behavior. He expressed hesitation about the accused’s unimpressive record in custody and letting this case proceed to a prima facie hearing.

DDA Drusinsky stated some confidence in proceeding to a hearing, but Judge Stevens advised against it, saying it would reopen past traumas with the victim’s family. 

Judge Stevens added that if this matter did proceed, the defense and the prosecution would have to “prove up a trial.” For the prosecution, he stated that the burden of proof would fall on it to provide testimonies and witnesses to be successful in overturning the petition. 

On the chance the defense is successful, Judge Stevens stated the accused could obtain a lower sentence than the settlement had stipulated. 

Judge Stevens said it was not the judge’s role, nor the interest of justice, to consider the ruling on these kinds of claims. 

DDA Drusinsky then redirected towards the agreement with DPD McCormick, to which McCormick made a final remark that longer sentences make it more difficult for the accused to get into self-help programs as opposed to those with a shorter sentence.

Unconvinced, Judge Stevens stated he was not going to lower the accused’s sentence any further, nor give back the credits, as the accused’s record was not convincing enough to prove a lower sentence. 

Advising the accused to focus on rehabilitation, improve his security score, and participate in educational training, Judge Stevens ultimately proceeded with the stipulations of the original agreement—12 years using the midterm and four more years from firearm possession enhancements. 

The accused accepted his new sentence and waived his right to appeal or re-petition the sentence any further.

About The Author

Kaylynn Chang is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley looking to major in Legal Studies with a strong interest in criminal justice and judicial law. Having years of experence with journalism and leading a publication, she loves to look for the stories of her community, focusing on the hidden voices and intriguing tales of people. She hopes to attend law school in the future, but for now she is looking to gain experience and experiment with her path. A passionate creator, a cafe connoisseur, and a library enthusiast, Kaylynn is always looking for small adventures along with accomplishing big goals.

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