A habitual offender who stole a prosecutor’s wallet, cell phone, and keys from a Superior Court courtroom has been sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison in a bid to halt his streak of convictions.
Robert J. Palacios, 25, was given credit for time served. His release date is Jan. 3, 2018. He will then be placed on probation for five years.
According to Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja, this is Palacios’ eight adult conviction.
“This means that defendant is averaging more than one conviction a year. This is streak that cannot be allowed to continue,” Naraja said.
Palacios was also required to pay a $500 probation fee and $100 court costs.
Naraja said that on top of the many crimes Palacios has committed in his short, seven-year adult life, he decided to disrespect the court, which has repeatedly tried and failed to help him, by committing a theft, on camera, in one of the courtrooms.
“To make it worse this crime was perpetrated against an officer of this court,” the judge said in his order Tuesday.
The Office of the Attorney General charged Palacios with theft by unlawful taking or disposition and criminal contempt for stealing assistant attorney general Nicole Driscoll’s wallet and other items from the courtroom on Dec. 5, 2012.
Palacios pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking or disposition as part of a plea deal. The other charges were dropped.
Assistant attorney general Jacinta Kaipat prosecuted the case. Attorney Colin Thompson served as counsel for Palacios.
Naraja found Palacios in violation of his probationary conditions and revoked his probation.
At the sentencing hearing last week, Naraja underscored Palacios’ prior convictions and their seriousness.
Naraja also discussed his familiarity with the defendant when he was a minor, and expressed regret that the system had failed to rehabilitate him.
The judge noted that he had hoped that the birth of Palacios’ first child would have inspired him to straighten up, but it has not.