defendant to fight for new life
By RUTH HEIDE
ALAMOSA — When Emilio Pena was young he told his father he wanted to grow up to be a cop.
His father just laughed.
“I understand why now,” Pena, now 24, told District Judge Martin Gonzales when the judge sentenced him on Monday to three years in Community Corrections. “I am a bad guy. I deserve it.”
Pena will enter an intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in the Denver area to serve his three-year sentence. Judge Gonzales said he recalled when Pena was a juvenile getting into trouble he told the judge he needed help for substance abuse, and he felt sad that Pena’s substance abuse problems had to get to this point for him to get help.
Pena said he has two children, and he wanted to become a productive member of the community but he knew it would be hard and would take time. “I have done a lot of things, bad things, to a lot of people, to myself, to my family,” he said. “I apologize to the community and to innocent bystanders that have been hurt by me.”
Pena asked for time to spend with his family and obtain some inexpensive clothes before going into the rehabilitation program. He said his father was also sick and he was worried he might not see him alive again. He said once he enters the program he would not be allowed to communicate for a year.
Judge Gonzales said he wished he could grant Pena time with his family but did not believe it would be appropriate.
The judge told Pena the one good thing for him was this was his only felony conviction as an adult and he seemed to be remorseful. He said the rehabilitation program to which Pena would be going was tough but he believed it would be helpful for Pena.
“My hope is that it does turn around for you,” Gonzales told Pena, “but it’s going to turn around for you only if you let it, if you fight for it, you struggle for it.”
In addition to Pena, Judge Gonzales sentenced several other defendants on Monday:
• Michael Anthony Baker, 43, was sentenced to 90 days in jail with credit for 40 days served and placed on probation for 2 years on an attempted drug possession charge. His attorney asked for a week before Baker served his time so he could make arrangements for his pets but Gonzales did not allow the additional time because Baker tested positive for cocaine and marijuana. “You don’t show up hot and the next time you show up hot with me it’s going to get more severe,” Gonzales told Baker.
The judge also pointed to Baker’s work history and said Baker had held good jobs in the past but was going downhill and was most recently working as a laborer. The judge added, “You are on a path to the Department of Corrections of you are not careful.”
• Anthony Jose Gaitan was sentenced to 30 days jail and placed on 2 years probation on a theft charge. The judge said he would not oppose electronic home monitoring and gave Gaitan until February 22 to begin his jail sentence.
• Amanda Anna Gallegos, 28, was sentenced to 60 days jail on a forgery charge and was allowed to begin the jail sentence on February 22, but the judge did not oppose electronic monitoring. Gallegos told the judge she was sorry and had been off drugs since October 17. She said she had three daughters to care for. Judge Gonzales said, “One wonders where your children were when you committed this crime ... One wonders what your concern was for your children when you were out doing illegal activities of this nature.”
• Robert J. Ossola, 19, was sentenced to 45 days jail and 3 years probation on a criminal impersonation charge. The judge gave Ossola until February 22 to start his jail sentence and did not oppose electronic home monitoring. The judge also required Ossola to complete his GED. Ossola has a baby to support now, and Gonzales told Ossola he hoped he would take care of his family better than he had taken care of himself. Regarding Ossola’s crime, the judge said Ossola tried to pass himself off as Robert Martinez. “You know how common that name is? You know how many guys could have gotten in trouble? That would have been a nightmare,” Gonzales said. “You pick a name out of a hat as though it has no consequence to somebody, and it does.”
• Ricardo Padilla-Flores, 20, received 30 days in jail with 18 months probation and was allowed to turn himself in on February 22 unless he had made electronic home monitoring arrangements. Judge Gonzales also scolded Padilla-Flores to becoming involved in thievery, the crime that led him to court. “I wonder what your ancestors would say about having one of their progeny just convicted of thievery.”
• Don Toby Rodriguez, 28, was sentenced to 90 days jail with 45 days credit, 45 days in intensive residential treatment program and 5 years probation as well as $788 restitution in conjunction with other codefendants on a criminal trespass charge. The judge said Rodriguez minimized his crime and maintained he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. “I don’t view that as the situation,” Gonzales said. “Frankly from my perspective just about everywhere you are seems to be in the wrong place.”
• Joseph Scott Sandoval was sentenced to 30 days jail but given credit for the time he had already served which meant he did not have to serve additional time, and he was required to pay $671 restitution on a theft case.