Friday, November 20, 2015

• Third Time's The Charm For Sentencing

Finally, on the third attempt to sentence James Heflin for his role in the 2014 Troop 332 Boy Scout trailer theft, he received an 8 year sentence in state prison.

As the trailer appeared after it was recovered. The inset above shows it as it had been before the theft.

Southwest Justice Center
The first time I went to the Southwest Justice Center to hear his sentencing he was out on bail, and though he had been at the courthouse that day, he fled and later had to be "recaptured".

The second time, September 18, 2015, he tried to change his plea at the last moment, and because the judge in the case was already familiar with the case, and she herself had past ties to the boy scouts, recused herself.

Today there was more gamesmanship attempted on the part of the defendant, but after much delay, Judge Elaine M. Keifer quickly dismissed his feeble attempts to stay in county jail a day longer, instead of being sent to the state pen.

The advantage to serving time in the county jail, from what I understand after speaking with the Deputy District Attorney Gregory Albright, is that not only are you not in a prison environment, where more hardened/violent criminals are, but that you accrue additional credits for time served (more about that later).

One person that I'd seen at the courthouse, at the previous failed sentencing hearings, was a tiny old lady named Renee Duncan. Until today, I'd assumed that she was there on behalf of the defence. 

Boy was I wrong. 

She let loose with a laundry list of alleged wrongs by the defendant and his friends, and "after returning home from dinner at Denny's with a friend," saw the trailer on her property and reported it. 

She was only there to watch him get sentenced. "I came to watch him get sentenced... I'll be glad to pay taxes for that (his incarceration)." 

As it became obvious that there were going to be no more delays, the defendant could be seen shaking his head back and forth many times, indicating his disagreement with the proceedings.

There were two cases against him, a pervious strike too, and after all the numbers were crunched he was handed a six year term and a two year term to be served consecutively. He had spent more than 300 days in custody and since it was served in the county facility, he was credited with serving twice that amount of time. (A clear advantage to doing time in county v. state).

There was a bit of wrangling over time served credits, and the two attorneys stipulated to 609 days served. Which get sliced right off the top of the sentence.

After the hearing was over, the deputy DA said he'd been sentenced to eight total years with about a year and a half credit. Once he hits prison, he'll have to serve 80% of that. He roughly estimated that he'll be behind bars for at least 4 years.

◄  ☼  ►

Considering that I recently heard Riverside County DA Mike Hestrin speak, and he mentioned that convicted car thieves will get sentenced to about 2 years, yet often end up serving less than 20 days —due to overcrowding... I won't be all that surprised if this guy is walking free before Christmas.

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If I was gonna go to jail, I don't want to go to jail for stealing a bottle of water. I'll steal that $20 million. At least then it was worth it. Idris Elba

Wildomar Rap's tip of the day: orange may be the new black, but I hear that the food is pretty bad in the pokey... especially if you're served the loaf

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