Tuesday, September 25, 2012



Note: Given the committed and attempted crimes, very light
sentences. Precedents from/for F&F?

'Masterminds' in guns theft sent to jail
Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 8:34 am
By Curt Prendergast
Nogales International

The two so-called "masterminds" behind an incident in which four
teenagers threw a brick through the window of a Nogales Police
Department vehicle and stole weapons and ammunition that they then
tried to sell to a man from Mexico were sentenced on Monday in Santa
Cruz County Superior Court.
Alan K. Palau, a 19-year-old Nogales resident, was sentenced to 180
days in the county jail and four years of probation as part of a plea
agreement. His cohort, another Nogales resident who was a juvenile at
the time of the June 4, 2011 crime, was also sentenced to four years
of probation, which includes 150 days in jail. He was given credit
for 33 days of time served and permitted release to attend high
school while serving his remaining jail time.
Judge Anna Montoya-Paez called both of them "spoiled" during two
separate sentencing hearings.
"What I see here, actually, is a spoiled child. I would call it
criminally spoiled," she said to Palau during a morning hearing.
Palau wiped away tears as he told the judge that he was "sorry" for
committing a "childish and foolish act."
His co-defendant, who broke down in tears when his mother spoke in
his defense during an afternoon hearing, told the judge that he
wanted "to apologize to all the people affected by my actions."
Both teens were ordered to undergo outpatient treatment for substance
abuse, paid for out of their own pocket, and attend Alcoholics
Anonymous meetings. Montoya-Paez also ordered both to pay $4,232 in
restitution, a $1,000 fine, and a $65 monthly probation fee.
Prosecutor Kimberly Hunley requested that the second defendant, now
18, receive a slightly less severe sentence because he is the only
one of the four original co-defendants who has not had any new
charges filed against him since the initial incident.
"However, (he) and Alan Palau are the two masterminds of what
happened in this case," she said.
The two teens were convicted of third-degree burglary, a Class 4
felony, for stealing an assault rifle, a pistol, and ammunition from
a Nogales Police Department vehicle that was parked outside an
officer's home.
Hunley said that Palau's lack of respect for authority stemmed from
the fact that he "has never had a job in his entire life."
In addition to jail time and probation, Montoya-Paez ordered Palau
and his co-defendant "to obtain and maintain a job" while on
probation and to perform 90 hours of community service, either as
manual labor or working with the poor.
"You need to open your eyes to see what's out there. You got it good,
kid, you have it really good. You've got to see people who don't,"
she said to Palau.
"There's no reason for you to have committed this crime, there was no
necessity," she said. "It was your choice that night, nobody else's.
You could have walked away, but you didn't."
She said that the prosecutor's requests were appropriate and urged
Palau's family to not be an "enabling" force in his life.
Palau's attorney Saji Vettiyil called the theft "an immature act by
two kids" and asked the judge to be lenient in her sentencing. He
noted that Palau agreed to testify against his co-defendants.
He said that having a felony on his criminal record will be its own
form of punishment.
"He will have a felony branded for the rest of his life that he has
to live with," Vettiyil said.
Vettiyil told the judge that Palau showed police officers where to
find the stolen pistol, but Hunley noted that Palau and the other
three defendants "attempted to sell the rifle to a confidential
informant who they believed to be someone who lived in Mexico."
Jim Lagatutta, lawyer for the second teen sentenced on Monday, called
the attempt to sell the guns to a Mexican man a "comedy of errors,"
saying "my client has no real background as an arms trader."
"They made a really bad judgment," he said.
The others
A third co-defendant, 20-year-old Sean Patrick Beall, of Nogales, has
pleaded guilty to one count of theft, a Class 6 undesignated offense,
and is set to be sentenced by Montoya-Paez in October.
Another co-defendant, who the NI is also not identifying because he
was a juvenile at the time of the offense, pleaded guilty to
trafficking stolen property in the second degree, a Class 6 felony.
He was sentenced by Judge Kimberly Corsaro in May to three years
probation, including 120 days in jail.

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