The Orange County District Attorney's office objected today to a judge striking the "strikes" for a third-striker gang member who was on parole when he and two other men assaulted a fourth man who told the trio to stop tagging a wall in Santa Ana with graffiti last summer.
At least the judge was consistent: prosecutors also objected to the sentences the jurist handed the other defendants.
An OCDA statement on the case follows after the jump . . .
January 19, 2010
JUDGE STRIKES THE 'STRIKES' ON THIRD-STRIKER GANG MEMBER PAROLEE AND CO-DEFENDANT BROTHER/GANG MEMBER WHO ASSAULTED MAN FOR TELLING THEM TO STOP TAGGING A WALL WITH GRAFFITI
*Another co-defendant gang member given probation
SANTA ANA - A judge struck the 'strikes', over the objection of the People, for a third-striker gang member on parole who assaulted a man who told him and two gang associate co-defendants to stop tagging a wall with graffiti. Nicholas Alex Duran, 35, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to the court on Friday, Jan. 15, 2010, to one felony count of aggravated assault, one felony count of street terrorism, and a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity. Nicholas Duran was a third-striker with three prior strike convictions for a 1994 robbery, 1994 aggravated assault, 1999 criminal threats, and sentencing enhancements for prior violent crime convictions and for not remaining free for five years after serving a prison sentence. Today, a judge sentenced Nicholas Duran to 13 years in state prison out of the maximum sentence of 47 years to life in state prison. The People objected to this sentence because this crime was a gang-motivated unprovoked crime of violence and the defendant's prior history did not merit a break.
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Gang member co-defendants Alejandro Justin Duran, 34, and Manola Mauricio, 17, both of Santa Ana, also pleaded guilty to the court on Friday, Jan. 15, 2010, over the People's objection, to one felony count of aggravated assault, one felony count of street terrorism, and a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity. Alejandro Duran, who is Nicholas Duran's brother, had one 1995 prior strike conviction for first degree burglary and faced a sentencing enhancement for a prior violent crime conviction, and for not remaining free for five years after serving a prison sentence. Mauricio was direct-filed as an adult. Today, the judge sentenced Alejandro Duran to seven years in state prison out of the maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison, and placed Mauricio on probation and gave him 206 days credit for the time he has served awaiting trial out of the maximum sentence of nine years in state prison. The People objected to Alejandro Duran and Mauricio's sentence based on the nature of the current crime, namely an unprovoked crime of violence, and Duran's prior history.
At approximately 2:00 a.m. on July 14, 2009, the 38-year-old victim was walking home on the north side of McFadden Avenue near the intersection of Orange Avenue in Santa Ana. Nicholas Duran, Alejandro Duran, and Mauricio were tagging a wall with graffiti located on the north side of the same intersection. The victim told the defendants to stop tagging the wall. About five or six individuals, including the defendants, chased the victim, stabbed him twice, and repeatedly punched and kicked him. The defendants fled the scene. A witness called 9-1-1 and Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) officers responded to the scene. The victim was transported to the hospital and treated for two stab wounds to his abdomen and multiple contusions.
Further investigation by SAPD detectives led to the identification and arrests of the defendants in September 2009.
Deputy District Attorney Steven Schriver of TARGET prosecuted this case.