Lando and his team recently researched all of the sentencing dispositions imposed on mandatory prison criminal defendants for 2010 and 2011, in Pinal County. That study revealed that the current county attorney, Jim Walsh, consistently releases 61% of mandatory prison criminals by dropping the mandatory prison requirements. Lando exclaimed, “This is unacceptable. Denise Padilla-Shaw could still be alive today.”
In 1989, in Pinal County, when Shaw turned 18 years old, he was arrested for Attempted 1st Degree Murder. He eventually accepted a plea agreement, for a probation eligible offense. He received 5 years of probation, violating that probation almost immediately and getting sentenced to 3.75 years in prison.
Soon after Shaw was released from prison, his violent crimes continued, namely for domestic violence misdemeanors but also getting arrested for Armed Robbery. He soon moved to Maricopa County.
In 2001, Maricopa County prosecutors convicted Shaw at trial for another felony. This came after Shaw decided that he didn’t want to take a plea, which also happened to be a domestic violence offense, in Mesa, AZ. That crime arose from an aggravated assault, again with a gun, against the mother of his 3 children, Veronica Embry. After trial and prior to the time of sentencing, Shaw recounted the crime to the Presentence Report Investigator, Lynn Smithson saying, in part, that Embry was fearful on the night of that crime because she believed that he was going to kill her when he returned to get items from their house. Smithson quoted Shaw in her report, as responding to Ms. Embry’s fear by saying, “No, what the f* am I going to kill you for, we have kids together. I would kill both of us before I just killed you.”
After serving 7.5 years in prison for that violent crime, he returned to Pinal County.
In 2011, Shaw was arrested for pulling a gun on his uncle here in Pinal County. Mr. Walsh’s office refused to charge the Aggravated Assault (Dangerous) and Threatening or Intimidating charges and only charged the Misconduct Involving Weapons charge. That by itself changed the case from a mandatory prison case to a probation eligible case if the allegation of prior felony convictions is dropped, which Walsh’s office did.
In 2012, this year, Shaw received probation for that otherwise, mandatory prison case. In the plea agreement, the County Attorney specifically agreed to not bring charges for Aggravated Assault or Threatening or Intimidating. Lando noted, “That portion of the plea was handwritten, as though it was agreed upon by the parties immediately before finalizing the plea and in an effort to take the path of least resistance and avoid trial.” Lando continued, “Those spur of the moment agreements are often written in when the defense attorney realizes that there is some evidence to suggest that their client committed those crimes.”
In preparation for sentencing, Shaw’s most recent probation officer, Diana F. Harris, in her March 19, 2012, presentence report, correctly stated, “The victim in all of his (Shaw’s) domestic violence convictions between 1996 and 2001 was the mother of his (Shaw’s) three oldest children.” She also points out that, “He (Shaw) has four prior violent convictions.” Because of Shaw’s priors, if the case had gone to trial and he was convicted, Shaw would be in prison for the next 2.25 years (absolute minimum) from March 19, 2012, and Denise Padilla-Shaw would most likely still be alive. Further, Leslie Castillo would most likely not still be suffering from severe injuries.
“The bottom line is that until violent criminals who commit mandatory prison crimes are required to serve prison time, these senseless murders and violent crimes will continue,” Lando concluded. The next of kin were present at the Probation Violation Hearing. The hearing took place this morning at the Pinal County Superior Court in front of Commissioner Delia Neal, Courtroom 2B, Florence, AZ. The Probation Violation Hearing was continued to October 11, 2012 at 8:30 am before the same commissioner.