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Interview with Tom, Frank and Ashlee

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Tom: I was sitting in the county jail for roughly 45 days before sentencing. I could have been there a a little less time but I chose to put off my sentencing as long as the court would allow.
Frank: I did most of my pre-sentencing process while out on bail, so it was pretty easy, and had a professional lawyer so I was left out of a lot of this fortunately.
Ashlee: Well, when I was arrested and booked into the county jail then it is just a matter of fighting your case through the court system to see what your charges and how much time you are offered. The DA usually throws the maximum sentencing he could give. So it all depends what the offers are on the table.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Tom: No. When the police came to my house it was with a SWAT team complete with waking up at about 6:00 a.m. to a SWAT tank on my front lawn and about 40 police officers.
Frank: Cops showed up at my house and took me away when I was initially arrested. I was bailed out soon after, and then later when I was actually sentenced, I was taken from the courthouse to the jail in a van.
Ashlee: No, I was at the store where this incident took place. I was returning some merchandise for a friend of mine since she didn't have any I.D. on her at the time. She gave me the receipt so I go in the store. Once the cashier said she needs to get a manager for approval I felt something was wrong. Sure enough as I went outside to have a smoke, there were police cars in back of the car I came in with my friend and her boyfriend sitting in the car. Then one of the officers came walking up to me and started asking me all kinds of questions. Next thing I know is I am put in the police car and off to the police station.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Tom: Really slow and impersonal. It was as if everybody but myself was allowed to speak despite the fact that I was the person being sentenced.
Frank: Court was very impersonal and nerve racking. Each time you go, there are like 5-10 other cases being heard at the same time and they are in any order, so you could be there like 5 minutes or 45 minutes. Or longer.
Ashlee: Court was like a field trip for the inmates. The only thing about going to court from jail is you are shackled up and going in your jail clothes. Once you arrive at the courthouse you are seated down in the basement and handcuffed to the bench. This is the only time that they allow male and females to be together.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Frank: My original charges were too messed up to mention, the D.A. threw so much at me at first that I was scared shitless. But I ended up being convicted of a "simple" 261.5, unlawful sex with a minor. It is a felony and I was NOT required to register as a sex offender.
Ashlee: At first they were trying to charge me for everything but I only pleaded guilty to what I was guilty of. They tried to press charges on me for other checks that had been cashed plus counterfeit money and identify theft. So I ended up with 2nd degree burglary.

Read about sentencing in the Sutter County Jail

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