Medrano ­sentencing postponed for third time

By Tamara Steiner on January 11, 2013

Sentencing for Joseph Medrano has been continued until Friday, Jan. 11. This is the third postponement for the former city councilman and insurance broker who was convicted of felony embezzlement in San Mateo County on Oct. 11 and first set for sentencing on Dec. 12.

The Dec. 12 sentencing was continued because Medrano’s attorney, Kenneth Moyal, was late, leaving Judge Jonathan Karesh less than half an hour to hear arguments from both the prosecution and the defense. Karesh continued that hearing until Dec. 31.

Medrano is represented by two Concord attorneys, Matt Oliveri and Kenneth Moyal.

On Dec. 21, Oliveri asked for a postponement of the Dec. 31 date because of a conflict with holiday plans. According to the DA’s office, Oliveri said a court clerk told him on Dec. 27 that the continuance was denied, but that the date had been “vacated,” a court term meaning removed from the calendar.

Oliveri told Medrano the hearing date would be reset, so Medrano turned off his cell phone and left town for a long weekend. On Friday, Dec. 28, the judge’s office notified Oliveri that the sentencing was still on the calendar for Monday. But by that time Medrano was gone and Oliveri was unable to reach him before the hearing. When Oliveri showed up at the Monday morning hearing without his client, the judge issued a no-bail warrant for Medrano’s arrest. He recalled the warrant later that day when Oliveri reached Medrano and rescheduled the sentencing for Friday, Jan. 4.

On Thursday, Jan. 3, Oliveri and Moyal informed the judge that they were “unavailable” for the hearing the next day. Medrano showed up alone in court on Jan. 4, and the judge continued the hearing once more to Jan. 11.

Medrano was convicted in October of stealing $159,630 from a former client. The prosecution is asking for the maximum four-year sentence, with two years to be served in prison. Assistant District Attorney Sharon Lee says Medrano has shown no remorse nor made any moves toward restitution. At the first sentencing hearing, the judge called Medrano’s statement asking for probation “troubling,” saying that “he still sees himself as the innocent victim.”

The defense is arguing for probation since Medrano has no prior criminal record.
Lee says the probation department has reviewed Medrano’s statement and is also recommending prison time.

When the judge continued the first sentencing hearing to Dec. 31, he told Medrano he would not be hearing any further testimony and would impose sentence on that day. Karesh told Medrano to “put his affairs in order and be prepared to surrender” on Dec. 31.

Click here for the results of Friday’s hearing.

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