A Twain Harte woman convicted in 2015 of murdering Sonora Police Department volunteer Rick Roberts was transported from prison to Tuolumne County Superior Court on Friday for a judgment on whether her sentence would be reduced from 50 years to life to 25 years to life.
Judge James A. Boscoe ultimately did not make a decision in the re-sentencing of Cheryl Lucero on Friday — a trial case he presided on — due to requests from both the prosecution and the defense to postpone.
“I had really hoped to conclude this today,” Boscoe said.
Lucero was convicted in September 2015 on first degree murder and an enhancement of using a gun in the commision of the murder. She was sentenced by Boscoe in October 2015 to serve 25 years to life on the murder charge and 25 years to life on the gun enhancement. The sentences were to run consecutively.
On Jan. 1, 2018, Senate Bill No. 620 went into effect, which gave trial courts the discretion to strike gun enhancement sentences.
Though Lucero was sentenced before the passage of the bill, she was granted reconsideration of her sentence under that statute according to a California Fifth Appellate District Court of Appeal opinion completed in May.
Boscoe was emphatic that his decision on Lucero would be limited to that single issue and he did not plan to relitigate the case with a protracted hearing.
“This is a factual issue, not a legal argument,” Boscoe said.
Lucero is housed in Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, her earliest parole eligibility date is June 2039.
Lucero, shackled at the ankles and wrists and wearing a cornflower blue polka-dot gown, sat in the jury box and spoke to her attorney, Hallie Gorman, before the start of the hearing.
She spoke only once, to identify the prison where she was being held.
Gorman said she needed the postponement because she was notified two weeks ago she would be representing Lucero.
“She wasn’t even here last time. This is the first time I’ve ever met her,” Gorman said.
Gorman said she had been in contact with Lucero’s trial attorney, Clay Bedford, but she found discrepancies in the information provided to her and the appellate opinion.
Gorman requested a schedule to submit documents to the court on the case, but Boscoe said neither party should expect a protracted argument on the subject.
The prosecution was represented by Assistant District Attorney Eric Hovatter. District Attorney Laura Krieg planned to attend the hearing and was prepared at 1:30 p.m., Hovatter said, but when the hearing started late, she started a two-hour preliminary hearing in Department 1.
“I don’t even know what the issue is in the sentencing,” Hovatter said, adding that if the hearing involved any argument, the prosecution would be disadvantaged.
Boscoe scheduled the sentencing hearing for Aug. 2 at 1:30 p.m. He said any written arguments must be submitted to the court before July 31.
Gorman left the courtroom with Lucero and four Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Lucero was charged with murder after Roberts was found dead with gunshot wounds on the morning of Feb. 16, 2014, in an automobile shop he rented near his home on Mono Way.
Lucero claimed during her trial that she had maintained an affair with Roberts before the murder.