COURT WATCH: Robbery Charges Reduced from Felony to Misdemeanor at Preliminary Hearing; Dismissal Denied

LOS ANGELES- CA, MARCH 2: Los Angeles Superior Court Stanley Mosk Courthouse March 2, 2004 in Los Angeles Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

By Bergen Greenley

LOS ANGELES, CA – Judge Cathryn F. Brougham lowered a felony robbery charge to a misdemeanor here this week in a preliminary hearing at Los Angeles County Superior  Court.

Judge Brougham reduced the charge after it was made clear the accused had no prior criminal record and did not use violence in the alleged robbery.

However, the judge denied the defense request for a dismissal and bail reduction.

In an incident that occurred in January, the complainant/victim of the robbery was walking back to his car in the parking lot at a beach after surfing and noticed two men going through his car with the doors open. When he yelled to them and asked what they were doing, they got in a nearby car and sped away.

The witness identified the accused as the man he saw rummaging through his car.

The men allegedly stole the witness’ wallet containing all of his credit cards and ID cards, his iPhone 13 Pro Max, and his MacBook Pro, with a total value of  $3,500.

The witness claimed he locked his car and put the key in a lockbox attached to the car, which was not broken when the robbery occurred—meaning that the two men would have had to break into the car, the prosecution alleged.

The witness called 911 after the men sped away, but went to the station to give a statement after, as the police never arrived.

Officer Kevin Lim of the Los Angeles Police Dept. testified he found that the car the accused allegedly drove away in, a white Bentley, was reported stolen by its owner—but the license plate was covered up with a different plate with a VIN that was not reported stolen.

Lim testified he also watched surveillance footage of the incident, verifying the victim’s story and identifying the accused.

The defense argued the complaining witness had claimed at first to police he only saw the men in his car while swimming back in the water, not from the parking lot, suggesting he didn’t have a very clear view.

The witness also originally told police that his car was left unsecured, said the defense, but changed his statement later after viewing photos.

The defense motioned to dismiss at least one of the counts, and to reduce bail. Judge Brougham reduced the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor because the accused had no criminal record and this was not a violent crime.

However, the accused did have a gun on him at the time of the incident, which is a separate ongoing charge, noted the judge, and justified maintaining the current $25,000 bail. The accused is still in custody.

The prosecution argued against lowering the charge to a misdemeanor, saying that it may lead to the case going to diversion, which was not appropriate for this crime.

The pretrial hearing is set for March 25.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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