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April 7, 2005

here is update Robert Lee Berry

From: - Apr 7, 2005,1413,157~26686~2801000,00.html
Hello Victims,

I'm sorry I was unable to get back to you yesterday but I was preparing for court and had no real news to share with you at that time. I received your letter and I have received, by FAX, three different Petitions, one of which was from you, and sent by (name is hidden for privacy reason). From the FAX numbers at the top of each, I can see they each come from different area codes, but I have not had a chance to look up where each was sent from. They will be useful at the conclusion of our case, when we present to the judge those things we believe would be appropriate, to the extent possible, to provide a greater measure of protection to future potential victims of Bobby Berry.

In answer to your question about a plea bargain with Bobby Berry; there is no plea bargain with Mr. Berry. There are plea bargains in some criminal cases and in appropriate cases our office does engage in plea bargains. But just as the __expression sounds, it is a "bargain", "agreement", actually a "mini contract" whereby the prosecuting authority (that would be our office in this case) agrees to something that is of benefit to the defendant like Mr. Berry, in exchange for him agreeing to something of benefit to the prosecuting authority. A hypothetical example would be, if the defendant is charged with 10 felony counts of some criminal activity, the defendant and the prosecution might enter into an agreement whereby the defendant only gets convicted of 5 out of the 10 counts (which cuts the defendant's punishment exposure in half) in exchange for the defendant pleading Guilty to those five felony counts (which saves the local state government the cost of a jury trial whereby the government would have to prove the defendant guilty (at trial they'd go for the full 10 counts in our sample) which would be costly for the government.

In Mr. Berry's case in California, there has been no plea bargain. That does not mean there won't be, before it's all over, but for right now there is no plea bargain of any kind.

The first appearance in court is called the Arraignment. The arraignment proceedings are concluded at the point where the defendant enters his/her initial plea. (There are a variety of pleas that can be entered, e.g., "guilty"; "not guilty"; "not guilty by reason of insanity"; "not guilty - not guilty by reason of insanity", "no contest", and "one in jeopardy".) At the arraignment, the proceedings serves the function of providing the defendant with clear notice of what he/she has been accused of, explaining to the defendant what his/her constitutional rights are (one of which is to be represented by an attorney, and if you don't have money for one the court appoints one for you); then ultimately the defendant's statement of how they answer to the charges, which simply means what plea they are going to enter. In most cases defendants, as a matter of course, enter a plea of not guilty, so their attorney will have some time to look into the charges and give sound legal advise as to how they believe the defendant should proceed from that point forward.

After the Plea is entered, in a Felony Case (in California a "felony" case is one where the possible punishment ranges from nothing more than a fine all the way up to spending no less than a year in a state penitentiary), the next step is to set the case for a court evidentiary hearing called a Preliminary Hearing (in some states called a probable cause hearing). At the Preliminary Hearing, the government puts on just enough evidence to convince the judge there is probable cause to believe two things: 1) that a crime was committed (usually the one or ones in the criminal Complaint filed against the defendant), and 2) that there is probable cause to believe the person who committed the crime is the defendant in that courtroom. If the judge decides there is enough evidence to believe some or all of the crimes alleged were committed and the defendant is the one who committed them, then the judge makes a court order "holding the defendant to answer" for the charges (in some states this is expressed as "binding the defendant over for trial") both of which mean; it looks to the judge like there is enough evidence to warrant having a trial.

Without giving you any more of a criminal procedure lesson for the day, although Mr. Berry has been before the court a couple of times before, today we completed his Arraignment on the 15 Felony Drug Charges pending against him with his attorney entering a plea of Not Guilty on his behalf. There was a court certified sign interpreter to assist Mr. Berry in understanding everything being said verbally in the courtroom and to assist him in communications with his attorney. The next thing that happened this morning was his attorney asked that we change the date for the Preliminary Hearing from today (which his attorney had asked for the last time we were in court) to a new date of April 15, 2005, a week from Friday at 9:00 am. We have a good case, we were ready today, and we will be ready a week from Friday. His Bail remains at $500K, which means I don't believe he will be going anywhere fast, until our court is through with him.

In reading the volume of materials in before they locked up the longest thread, I was sadden to hear a contributor express the feeling that law enforcement and the criminal justice system was not interested in helping the victims of Bobby Berry because they were not hearing people. I was saddened that the contributor would feel that way, and, I was saddened because in a certain sense there may be a pinch of truth to that. It is unfortunate that police any many other professions can be and often are so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life in the United States, that they will not take the time or make the effort to communicate with someone who is different from them. This is not limited to the deaf community rather is farther reaching in that it would apply to both American citizens and visitors, who's first language is not English. As unfortunate as that maybe, it is all the more reason why victims in the deaf community have to be the bigger person, be persistent, in communicating to the police that they have been victimized, how, when, who the witnesses are etc.

I work for the elected District Attorney of Butte County and the Mission Statement of our office is: No one is above the law...and, No one is beneath its protection. I can assure you that of the 58 counties in the state of California, Bobby Berry made a very big mistake coming to Butte County to engage in criminal conduct. He will be treated fairly here, but he will also be held accountable.

I know there are a lot of victims and concerned supporter who are curious about what is happening and going to happen with this case in California, but unfortunately a lot of the ins and outs of the case are confidential, at least for now, so I am not able to elaborate more for the moment. We'll all have to be patient; the wheels of justice do turn slowly, but good things sometimes are worth waiting for.

In the mean time, I hope any outstanding victims will find the courage to go to their local police, sheriff, or state police and make a full and complete report of the illegal conduct Mr. Berry has engaged in and ask that police agency to contact Deputy Christopher at the Butte County Sheriff's Office to help bring the cases together by identifying witnesses, which will ultimately bring closure for the victims that have not reported. I also believe there have been victims that have been so taken in by Mr. Berry that he has convinced them to do things that were not proper or legal when they were under his spell which now makes them reluctant to say anything because they may be afraid they did something other people will see as stupid or will not understand he had them conned at the time into thinking about other things and only realized later on reflection that they may have done something they normally would not do. Those people have to come forward too. They are not alone. That's one of the things con-men often do is get something to hold over another person's head so they will never tell on the con-man for fear he will tell on them. Although it may be embarrassing I really don't think anyone who gets to know some of BB's history will have any difficulty recognizing who the real victims are.

Thank you for taking active steps in the effort to bring this criminal to justice,

Kevin M. Maloney Deputy District Attorney

Butte County District Attorney's Office

25 County Center Drive Oroville, CA 95965

Desk: (530) 538-7448 Pgr: (530) 540-1153