Monday, August 30, 2010

Griesa sentenced: short jail term,
lifetime registration as a sex offender

by Tom Nadeau

Former tow truck firm owner Joseph Griesa was sentenced in Yuba County Superior Court Friday to 270 days in jail and five years on probation for being convicted of 10 criminal counts involving sex with a minor girl and payroll tax violations.

The toughest penalty visiting Judge Ersel Edwards imposed on the 45-yer-old Griesa was compelling him to register as a convicted sex offender annually for the rest of his life.

Griesa must also stay away any minors and schools, although Edwards did allow one exception that permits him to transport his own children to and from school.

Edwards also levied a lengthy roster of fines and fees against the convicted felon.

Sacramento defense attorney Kenneth Rosenfeld asked that Griesa be allowed to serve his jail term on a work-furlough status. That would allow him to go leave jail every day to go to work, but would have to return to the jail to spend the night.

Edwards left it up to the jail commander whether to permit that.

Little hard time, but not so easy, either ...

Some in the crowded gallery thought Griesa got off easy.

Edwards responded by saying the sentencing guidelines were limited by the terms of Griesa’s negotiated settlement with the prosecution.

Edwards admonished Griesa, saying the sentence he did get should make it “absolutely clear” to him that his past conduct with “young women who depended on you … was reprehensible.”

Edwards granted a defense request that Griesa temporarily remain free in order to tie up some personal business before reporting to the jail at 8 a.m. Sept. 14.

The most poignant moments in the sentencing hearing came during victim “SA’s” public statement to the judge and the crowded courtroom.

Attendees included many supporters of Jesse Santana, one of the attorneys impacted by Griesa’s bitterly challenged testimony in the related matter of People v. Santana, Vasquez.

SA’s lengthy statement came through a steady flow of tears, with a male aide from the Victims-witness program standing close by.

She appeared to be as angry with the District Attorney’s Office handling of Griesa’s prosecution as she was with Griesa for what he had done to her.

SA first described how Griesa’s actions had affected her life and, she said, continues to do so.

“I wish every day this is a nightmare (that will end), but it’s not … “I live in fear what the defendant might do to me,” she said

SA recounted how Griesa had told her during one of his sexual advances that “He’d hit me if I disobeyed … (and that) “One time he wanted oral sex and I refused and he struck me in the face.”

She also said she “felt the district attorney never wanted to hold him (Griesa) accountable,” she said.

A woman who appeared to be Griesa’s wife sat just behind him in the public gallery. He turned to her, eyes cast down, and they held hands over the bar separating the gallery from the court bay while the embarrassing details poured out of the teary SA.

This sentencing does not end Griesa’s parade of legal problems.

He has filed a malpractice lawsuit in Sutter County against Redwood City attorney Charles “Chuck” Smith, one of four lawyers who have represented him throughout this tacky soap opera.

A woman claiming to be another victim of Griesa’s sexual practices has reportedly filed a civil complaint against him in Sutter County seeking millions in damages.

In an entirely unrelated matter, another Sutter County woman, Jaspreet Kaur, has filed a $100,000 damages complaint against him. That legal dispute arises from a March 14 auto accident.

Finally, while the sentence may seem light to some, persons familiar with the probation requirements imposed on Griesa, say they can be very difficult to abide by flawlessly for five years.

Should he violate, Griesa could be carted off to state prison to serve the three-year term that was suspended pending his successful completion of probation.

Details in the probation requirements for a sex-with-a-minor convict often dictate what neighborhoods they can live in and whether they can attend a movie without an adult escort.

Then, too, there are all those unscheduled, unannounced home inspections probation officers can periodically demand.

No dirty dishes in the sink for this guy for the next five years.


Blogger Gary said...

Was the Ersel defended by a Sacramento defense attorney? Who was the prosecutor?

June 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM  

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