In a follow-up to the State vs. Rojo in which former detective Joel Rojo was found guilty of all charges yesterday, many citizens have inquired as to the reason for the delay in sentencing.
District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson spoke with KBest News regarding the circumstances, explaining that in a criminal trial, the defendant has the choice (before the trial begins) as to whom will decide the punishment if the defendant is found guilty. The choices for sentencing are: the Court (the Judge) or the Jury. In this case, Mr. Rojo chose the Court. Had Mr. Rojo chosen the Jury, the sentencing would have been applied immediately. However, when a defendant selects the Court, the law requires a period of “pre-sentencing investigation,” which is “a day or two” to attempt a comprehensive evaluation of the defendant including criminal history, mental health, substance use, family, etc. The investigation is conducted by another agency of the state, with results being submitted to the Court.
In the case of Mr. Rojo, he was not deemed as a flight risk, therefore his bond was not revoked during the time of the pre-sentencing investigation (which was ordered by the Court to be submitted today).
The charges for which Mr. Rojo was convicted make him ineligible for probation, and are punishable by incarceration in a state penitentiary. The exact sentencing will occur next week in 118th District Court by Judge Timothy Yeats.