Prosecutor files motion to void plea agreements with California construction thieves
POCATELLO — A motion filed by the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office has requested that a plea agreement reached with two men who stole over $20,000 in tools be voided.
In separate motions to find breach, filed on March 31, the prosecution states that it was unaware of additional charges against Oscar Orlando Herrera, 57, and Jobsan Enoc Garcia Baca, 21, when it reached the agreement.
The breach claims that, with the new charges in Bingham County, the severity of both men’s “conduct is potentially much higher than first anticipated.”
“Criminal history and current criminal activity are a significant and material aspect to consider in reaching the plea agreement,” the motions read. “… The state cannot meet its interest in community safety, punishment and deterrence under the current plea agreement.”
Garcia Baca and Herrera were arrested in the early morning hours of Jan. 15, when officers conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of Olympus Drive and Paradigm Way. During the stop, the two were found to be in possession of what officers believed to be dozens of stolen tools.
About 30 minutes prior to the stop, Pocatello police received calls reporting a burglary at a nearby construction site.
After examining the tools found in a white panel van driven by Garcia Baca and Herrera, officers positively identified at least one to belong to one of the workers at the burglarized job site.
Both men were charged with five felony counts of grand theft. Additionally, Herrera was charged with felonies for burglary and malicious injury to property, as well as a misdemeanor for providing false information to police.
As part of plea agreements reached with the prosecution on Jan. 27, both men pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft, while all other charges were dismissed.
Garcia Baca entered his guilty plea on Feb. 24, while Herrera entered his on Feb. 22.
On Feb. 28, following an investigation by the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, both men were charged in connection to a job site burglary in Shelley.
Separate felony charges of burglary and grand theft remain outstanding against both men in Bingham County.
However, the Bannock County prosecutor alleges the new charges, filed after the agreement was reached, constitute breaches of the agreement — which direct both men to refrain from further criminal activity.
The prosecution contests it was unaware of the additional charges at the time of offering the agreement and may not have made the same offer if it was aware.
The defense teams for both men have filed objections to the motions.
Deputy public defender Ashley LaVallee, who is representing Garcia Baca, pointed to her client’s lack of control in the matter when lodging her objection with District Judge Javier Gabiola.
“The Defendant has no control over if/or when the State files additional charges. The State is acting in bad faith by claiming a breach,” LaVallee said in her objection filed March 18, one day after the motion was filed.
In its motions, the prosecutor’s office requested oral arguments be heard on the matter. Motion hearings have been scheduled for May 23.