Herrera Receives Probation Sentence
Judge O’Gorman: ‘Prove Me Wrong’
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN
Despite intending to sentence Isaac Herrera to prison for two felony charges, District Court Judge Travis O’Gorman decided to give Herrera an opportunity on probation.
Herrera came before Judge O’Gorman to receive a sentence in a case where he was originally charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a class 1D felony, and possession of a controlled substance, a class 4 felony. Through a plea agreement, the charge in count one was reduced to an attempt of a class 3 or 3A felony, which is a class 4 felony.
According to the Affidavit for Custody, on April 15, 2018, an officer with the Alliance Police Department was searching for a person with a felony warrant, when he observed a man carrying a long rifle across a parking lot in the 200 block of West Third Street.
The officer identified him as Isaac Herrera, who he recognized as a convicted felon. They placed him under arrest and conducted a search, which yielded a pen tube and a red plastic tube containing a “white powdery substance.” The substance tested positive as methamphetamine.
During sentencing, Herrera said he is working to change his life, noting he is employed.
“I’m doing the best I can,” said Herrera.
Judge O’Gorman asked Herrera if he were drug tested whether he would pass.
“I could be a negative for marijuana,” said Herrera.
Judge O’Gorman asked how that would be different on probation, noting he intended to give him a prison sentence.
“I’ll tell you right now,” Judge O’Gorman said, “I did not come in here intending to put you on probation. I do not think you are a candidate for probation. The main reason I don’t think you’re a candidate is because you state in your PSI (pre-sentence investigation) you smoke marijuana daily. Part of the probation order would be drug and alcohol testing.”
Herrera responded that he would like to prove to Judge O’Gorman that he would be suitable for probation.
“My plan today was to put you in the penitentiary for a year on both counts, concurrently,” said Judge O’Gorman. “Then I was going to give you credit for 120 days, so it was going to be a pretty short trip. With class 4 felonies now, there is a presumption of probation, but I think there’s enough evidence here to rebut that presumption. I don’t think you can stay off marijuana.”
Judge O’Gorman sentenced Herrera to serve 18 months probation.
“I’ll give you a chance to prove to me that you can stay off,” Judge O’Gorman said. “I’ll put you on probation now, as opposed to putting you on after you go to the pen. But, I’ll tell you, I was going to give you a year concurrent. You probably won’t get that a second time. If you fail on probation, we’re going to re-sentence you, then you’re not going to get the same deal then.
“It’s going to be in your best interest to comply with this probation,” said Judge O’Gorman. “You said you want to prove it to me. Do it. Prove me wrong.”