Fresno man convicted of rape could get reduced sentence due to new legislation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The sentence for a brutal 2015 rape appears to be back open for discussion.

Ernesto Olivas, the man convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in the bathroom of an East Central Fresno laundromat, could be resentenced.

"The defendant was sentenced to 26 years in prison, which was an appropriate sentence for what he did," says Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz. "This was a heinous sexual assault and now under this law, this defendant, the defense argues, is entitled to only 22 years."

Since Olivas' sentencing, the law changed in a way that could affect his punishment.

SB 567 says prosecutors now have to prove above and beyond certain guilt for a crime to be considered "aggravated."

Olivas' defense argues that the threshold was, so his sentence should be reduced.

An empty courtroom was the setting for Monday's hearing via Zoom with Judge Jonathan Conklin.

"There appeared to be little evidence which one could conclude that the defendant had pre-planned the attack beyond, obviously, the steps he took in the room," Conklin said.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz believes, at the very least, his office is entitled to a new trial to prove that this crime meets the threshold to be considered "aggravated."

"This is an example of a law that's coming down from Sacramento -- it's political," he said. "It's a law that I think is moving away from public safety and the rights of victims, so we need to start pushing back on these laws."

The judge is expected to meet with both sides again next month and present his ruling on whether Olivas is entitled to a new trial.
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fresnosexual assault
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