For Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho, the time of imposing a “slap on the wrist” sentence on a defendant convicted of domestic violence is over.
Camacho yesterday sentenced to the maximum jail sentence of one year Brandon Camacho Wanket who was convicted for pulling the hair of his common-law wife and resisting police's arrest.
“The Domestic Violence Criminal Act was passed in 2004. That was eight years ago. This court rises to the call of the Legislature to address domestic violence as a serious problem,” the judge said.
Wanket was ordered to serve the jail sentence day to day, without the possibility of parole, early release, weekend release, or any other similar program.
The defendant was given credit for two days he already served in jail.
Camacho granted the defendant's request to start serving the jail term at the Department of Corrections on Aug. 17, 2012 at 8am.
After the case was assigned to him, Camacho quickly set the matter for a bench trial. At the July 17, 2012 trial, Camacho convicted Wanket on all counts-assault and battery, disturbing the peace, criminal mischief, interfering with a domestic violence report, and resisting arrest.
At yesterday's sentencing, assistant public defender Matt Meyer, counsel for Wanket, recommended a 30-day jail term. Meyer said the defendant has no criminal history and that it was only a single act of violence involved-pulling the hair one time.
Meyer said there was no evidence presented that the defendant struck, pushed or kicked a police officer.
The common-law wife asked the court to give Wanket another chance. She disclosed that they are planning to get married this September.
Assistant attorney general Margo Brown recommended a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
Before announcing the sentence, Camacho stated his findings. He said after a night of drinking with friends, Wanket came home to find his clothes in the yard in Upper Miha on June 22, 2011.
A heated argument followed between Wanket and his common-law wife of seven years. The victim has a serious health condition with her breathing that requires her house to be air-conditioned.
To retaliate against the victim, Wanket cut the cord of the air-conditioner.
Camacho said disabling the air-conditioner was designed to intimidate and hurt the victim emotionally and physically.
“This court takes the view that cutting the A/C cord is similar to cutting the very air the victim is breathing and was intended to cause her harm,” Camacho said.
Camacho said the victim took Wanket's cell phone to call the police.
The victim managed to get one call out to 911 as Wanket was running and chasing after her. The defendant grabbed the victim's hair with such force that both of them fell to the ground.
Camacho said it took three responding police officers 15 minutes to subdue Wanket.
The judge said even after repeated requests from the officers to calm down and submit to their lawful authority, Wanket refused to comply.
Camacho said the officers had to use teargas and even then still had to wrestle the defendant to the ground in order to finally secure the handcuffs.
On the charge of interference with a domestic violence report, Camacho noted that somewhere out there in the community is a victim of domestic violence who wants to cry out for help.
“If you pick up a phone and call for help, this court will take the crime of domestic violence seriously,” the judge stressed.
Camacho is known for rejecting lenient plea bargains and imposing full maximum jail sentences.