Mix-up over crime bill’s effect stalls drive-by shooter’s sentencing

Jose Antonio Delgado appears in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday for sentencing for a drive-by shooting downtown.

Jose Antonio Delgado appears in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday for sentencing for a drive-by shooting downtown.

Around the time that legislators were mulling over a bill this year to alter crime statutes in Alaska, police arrested a man and woman in downtown Juneau tied to a drive-by shooting. Five months later, the two events are clashing.

Jose Antonio Delgado, 48, was supposed to receive a sentence in court on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to a lesser felony weapons charge in exchange for the dismissal of two felony assault charges. The charges stem from an incident on Feb. 24 when prosecutors say Delgado fired a bullet from a car at a man on Harris Street. According to a court affidavit, Delgado fired at the man because he thought he had stolen his dog.

[Drive-by bullet misses man by eight inches]

But in court on Tuesday, an assistant district attorney, the judge and the defense attorney all questioned if the sentencing could move forward considering Delgado entered into a plea deal that predates the now active Senate Bill 91 that reformed sentencing guidelines for multiple offenses. In Delgado’s case, the class B felony for firing a weapon out of a window could be punishable by one to three years in prison, dependent on the defendant’s criminal history. SB 91 reduces that window to zero to two years.

Delgado has 21 prior criminal convictions, including a felony conviction for fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance and seven other convictions of misdemeanor assault, according to CourtView.

Eve Soutiere, of the Office of Public Advocacy, told Judge Louis Menendez that she wasn’t sure based on the date of her client’s prior offenses if a presumptive range (a sentencing based on prior criminal convictions) still applied in his case and she needed more time to discuss the matter with Delgado. ADA Amy Paige said the presumptive rage did still apply and regardless of SB 91, the sentencing could move forward as planned with the agreed upon plea deal of three years served in prison and five years of probation.

“It’s the state’s position that this remains a legal sentence,” Paige told Judge Menendez.

[In Haven House ceremony, Walker signs sweeping reform of Alaska’s criminal justice system]

Menendez considered if an entirely new plea deal should be entered, but in the end Soutiere agreed with Paige that based on her client’s criminal history in combination with the crime reform law, the sentence agreed upon in the plea deal was still legal and appropriate. Delgado, too, told his lawyer he would be fine with proceeding with the agreed upon plea deal and did not need time to confer with his lawyer. However, all the time spent discussing SB 91 ate into the actual sentencing time.

Delgado’s sentencing was eventually rescheduled for Aug. 24.

Sky Stubblefield, 26, the woman prosecutors said drove the vehicle from which Delgado fired the weapon, previously pleaded guilty on July 21 to second-degree failure to stop at the direction of an officer, in exchange for the dismissal of a felony weapons charge. According to a police report, Stubblefield told police she wanted nothing to do with Delgado’s actions which is why she fled the scene after Delgado fired the weapon. She received the maximum sentencing for the misdemeanor charge, one year of jail time.

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