Marsy’s Law Is Working And More People Are Using Its Provisions
In California, more and more people are hearing about Marsy’s Law and using it within the judicial system for more than violent crime acts. One victim used Marsy’s Law in the family court system and now victims of financial crimes are using its notification provisions. Please remember to read, comment and share so we can let more people know their rights under Marsy’s Law.
– The Tribune, by Patrick S. Pemberton
The alleged victims in a North County fraud case say they should have been notified before the defendants’ seven felonies were reduced to misdemeanors.
But during a hearing on the issue Wednesday, a defense attorney said the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office agreed to a deal that would result in no further jail time for the accused and is now trying to reverse it.
The matter is expected to be settled in a July 22 hearing, following legal motions.
Lenders Rodney Virgil Jarmin, 75, and Tammy Marian Jordan, 53, were each charged in April 2011 with seven felonies for selling securities by means of false statements or omissions, with five enhancements.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, the pair, who owned Real Property Lenders, acted illegally when they failed to disclose to investors that the builders they had worked with had defaulted on loans and that previous investors had not been paid dividends.
More than 80 investors submitted restitution claims to the probation department, which recommended more than $8 million in restitution, according to a motion filed by the District Attorney’s Office.
Both Jarmin and Jordan were headed to trial last week. But as attorneys were selecting a jury for their trial, the defendants agreed to plead no contest June 10 to all seven misdemeanor charges.
In the prosecution’s motion to reconsider, filed June 12, the District Attorney’s Office alleges that Superior Court Judge Donald Umhofer reduced the charges to misdemeanors before a plea was made.
“Courts are not allowed to plea bargain criminal cases,” the motion reads.
According to the minutes of the plea, restitution was set at $107,000 for Jarmin and $7,500 for Jordan.
In a hearing on that motion Wednesday, Jarmin’s attorney, Robert Sanger, said the prosecution now has “buyer’s remorse,” regretting its decision to enter into a plea deal. Sanger also accused the District Attorney’s Office of being unprofessional, though he did not elaborate.
Umhofer told deputy district attorney Steve von Dohlen that he can’t blame the court for the entire flap since he did not object to the plea.
“You might have to fall on your sword,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham said von Dohlen didn’t object because he believed the defendants would be convicted of felonies.
“I don’t think everybody was on the same page,” Cunningham said.
Even if a plea was agreed upon, the prosecution also charges that under the state’s Victim’s Bill of Rights — also known as Marsy’s Law — victims in the case should have been notified of any changes in the pleas or restitution ahead of time.
Linda Gerpheide, one of the alleged victims, said she was never notified of a possible plea bargain or a reduction in charges or restitution — which she would have objected to.
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