A Nevada judge radically changed the sentence he had given a convicted child molester only a week after the original sentence, cutting it from life in prison with a possible parole in ten years to one year in jail and five years of probation.
Washoe District Judge Brent Adams said he had made a “mistake” with a clerical error when he verbally and later electronically filed a sentence against Isaac Onsurez, 69, who had committed over 100 sex acts in the late 1990s upon a six-year-old girl who was his relative.
Quoted anonymously by the Reno-Gazette-Journal, the mother of the child was shocked, saying, “It was the harshest sentence he could impose, and that was the justice we were looking for… then two days later we get a phone call.”
Deputy District Attorney Shannon Bryant, the prosecutor, stated:
We are very disappointed. Our office marshaled a great deal of resources to prosecute this case and see it to resolution, and we believe Judge Adams delivered the appropriate sentence a week ago on March 12. The victim’s mother’s emotional reaction is understandable… As I said earlier, the judge offered no explanation for why he changed his mind.
One possible explanation for the judge’s change of sentence is that the law at the time of the crimes stated that a probation sentence for such a conviction was proper as long as the defendant underwent psychosexual evaluation and the psychologists determined that he would be unlikely to commit such crimes again. That kind of sentence had been considered in a February status hearing, but Onsurez made a plea deal for the ten-to-life sentence.
The victim’s mother had been questioning the district attorney’s decision not to take the case to trial. After Adams cut the sentence, she said sadly, “Judge Adams issued a very stark message. If you are a young adult and suffered child sexual abuse in Washoe County, more than likely if it happened in the 1990s, your abuser is not going to receive prison (sentence).”
In the confession from Onsurez, he said the child was a “curiosity [sic] child that wanted sex.”