Three gang members re-sentenced after evidence was thrown out by Washington Supreme Court
YAKIMA, Wash.- Three known gang members were sentenced for a second time from a shooting that happened in Sunnyside in 2009.
Anthony De Leon, Richard De Leon and Octavio Robledo were all arrested almost ten years ago and admitted to having ties to Norteno gangs.
They were all were sentenced with 1st degree assault for the shooting in 2010, but that decision was overturned by the Washington state supreme court last year.
Supreme court documents say these defendants were forced to choose between making incriminating statements and facing physical violence.
They go on to say, we do not see how the statements could possibly be considered voluntary and admissible.
Without those statements, there was nothing as direct or persuasive as their confessions.
While their rights might have been read to them during the trial, Mike Russell with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office says that doesn't mean their answers can be used every time.
Other things may come into play as well: how many law enforcement officers were present was there forced used to get the person where they are. There are so many different parameters that can affect the answer to that question.
Also, the problem was not the fact they admitted to being in a gang but that was the only form of evidence to convict them of gang activity.
Russell says law enforcement and jailers need to ask those questions to keep some people safe in jail.
"If you put a person from a particular gang into a housing unit with a bunch of other gang members that person is going to be the victim of a crime. That person is going to be either assaulted or killed."
All three of them were tried together and they were all sentenced earlier this week.
Anthony De Leon had his sentence of 80 years brought down to a little over 20 years.
Richardo De Leon and Robledo has their sentences reduced from about 50 years to just over 20 years each.