Plea deals for Jarmin and Jordan likely to be reinstated
February 18, 2016
A California appellate court has indicated it would rule to reinstate the plea deals San Luis Obispo County prosecutors made last year with hard money lenders Rod Jarmin and Tammy Jordan. The plea agreements would allow Jarmin and Jordan to escape jail time, and prosecutors have been trying for months to overturn them. [Tribune]
In April 2014, Jarmin and Jordan were arrested in connection with a scheme in which they allegedly swindled more than 700 investors out of $30 million. Both defendants then pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts of the sale of securities by means of false statements and omissions.
Each violation is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $10 million fine. But on June 10, Jarmin and Jordan pleaded no contest, and San Luis Obispo Judge Donald Umhofer reduced the seven felonies to misdemeanors.
In addition to avoiding jail time, Jarmin and Jordan would only have to pay $114,000 in restitution under the plea deal.
Shortly following the deal, the district attorney’s office filed a motion to reconsider, alleging Umhofer wrongly reduced the charges to misdemeanors before a plea was made. In July, Umhofer granted the motion and reinstated seven felony charges against Jarmin and Jordan. Umhofer then removed himself from the case.
After Umhofer changed the charges back to felonies, the attorneys for Jarmin and Jordan appealed the ruling to the state appellate court.
Last week, the Second District Court of Appeal issued an alternative writ of mandate in favor of Jarmin and Jordan. Alternative writs of mandate are not final legal decisions, but they indicate how the appellate court would rule if it were to continue hearing the case.
Now, a superior court judge must decide by next month whether to reinstate the misdemeanor plea deals or allow the district attorney’s office to formally argue the case before the appellate court.
Even though the appellate court has indicated it would side with Jarmin and Jordan, District Attorney Dan Dow said he still wants to contest the plea deals. Dow said the DA’s office would work to ensure the victims have an opportunity to be heard prior to the court ordering sentencing or restitution. The state’s Victim’s Bill of Rights requires that victims be notified prior to a plea bargain, the DA’s office said.
If the San Luis Obispo judge who takes over the case does not oppose the appellate court’s writ, the case will go to sentencing and restitution hearings.