‘I do’: Inmate Freed to Attend Placerville Wedding
A Valley Springs man sentenced to five years in the Calaveras County Jail in July for growing more than 1,700 marijuana plants was given permission by Sheriff Gary Kuntz to attend a wedding in Placerville in late September. He was accompanied by two armed guards.
Edward Angel Pereira, 39, was convicted in June of possessing marijuana for the purpose of sale, two counts of receiving stolen property and possessing an illegal assault rifle. As part of a plea bargain he made with the District Attorney’s Office, charges of criminal conspiracy against his wife, Alicia Pereira, and son, Andrew Adams, were dropped.
He was arrested March 12 on McCauley Road as part of a Sheriff’s Office raid, which netted four arrests, more than a thousand marijuana plants, a cache of weapons and processed marijuana.
Months after Pereira was sentenced to five years in jail, a letter came across Kuntz’s desk from the offender’s sister, who was a bride-to-be.
“She was getting married,” Kuntz said. “Her brother, who was in jail, had promised her he would walk her down the aisle.”
After reading the letter, Kuntz decided to use his “discretion” to allow Pereira to be escorted by two armed correctional officers to Placerville where the wedding took place.
Kuntz said Pereira was only allowed to walk his sister down the aisle and was then brought directly back to jail.
“A lot of people at that wedding said, ‘Thank you very much, you’ve done a great thing,’” Kuntz said. “They were very appreciative.”
Kuntz said he made sure taxpayer dollars would not be used to pay for the correctional officers’ time spent supervising Pereira on the short excursion.
After the wedding, Kuntz was contacted by County Counsel Janis Elliot who informed him he did not have the authority to allow Pereira to attend the wedding. He should have obtained a court order.
According to Section 4004 of the California Penal Code, “A prisoner committed to the county jail for examination, or upon conviction for a public offense, must be actually confined in the jail until legally discharged.”
“… If the prisoner is permitted to go at large out of the jail, except by virtue of a legal order or process, it is an escape,” according to Section 4004.
The section goes on to state if ...