The Orange County Superior Court has agreed to delay the re-sentencing of a convicted child molester after the leniency of his original sentence sparked the national outcry. Judge M. Marc Kelly who originally sentenced Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto agreed to postpone his re-sentencing but warned when he returns to court in January that he will be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
When Rojano-Nieto was 19, he molested his three-year-old relative, a crime which carries a mandatory sentence in California of 25 years to life but Judge Kelly shaved off 15 of those years which sparked a national outcry. This time around, Judge Kelly will be re-sentencing Rojano-Nieto but agreed to push postpone his next court date so that his public defender, Melani Bartholomew, has more time to prepare. Bartholomew was just appointed to defend Rojano-Nieto less than three months ago. She broke down when she told the judge, "My hands are tied. I have not been given the time I need."
When Rojano-Nieto was originally sentenced in 2015, Judge Kelly told the court that the crime was "serious and despicable" but there was no "violence or callous disregard" for the victim's well-being, nor did she suffer "serious violent injuries" and this is why he shaved off 15 years from the mandatory sentence.
After this sentencing, public outcry prompted officials to push for the removal of Judge Kelly from the bench for his decision to reduce the child molester's sentence. A victim's rights attorney said, "How dare a sworn member of the judiciary to tell the family and through their family a 3-year-old child, that the sodomy was not brutal."
Judge Kelly has not made any public comments on the matter and Rojano-Nieto is scheduled to be sentenced to 25 years to life in January.
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