PROSECUTOR: Deputy District Attorney Matthew Moore, Career Criminal Prosecution Unit
Jose Smith was convicted by a jury of home invasion robbery with the use of a firearm, two counts of attempted home invasion robbery, 18 counts of residential burglary, evading a police officer, child endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Smith and several co-conspirators burglarized the homes of 15 separate victims in Sacramento County, Placer County and El Dorado County between January and April of 2019. In several of these incidents, the victims were home when Smith and his co-conspirators robbed or attempted to rob them using force. When officers attempted to arrest Smith, he led officers on a chase with his infant daughter in the backseat. When Smith was ultimately apprehended, he was found with several items of stolen property, including a stolen handgun and large amounts of stolen ammunition. More than 70 firearms that were taken by Smith and his co-conspirators were never recovered.
A prior 2004 strike conviction for first-degree residential burglary will be determined at the sentencing hearing.
Smith faces a maximum sentence of 67 years and 10 months in prison. Sentencing is set for November 5, 2021, at 1:35 p.m. in Department 4 before the Honorable Steve White.
PROSECUTOR: Principal Criminal Attorney Nancy Cochrane, Special Assault & Child Abuse Unit
The Honorable Ernest Sawtelle sentenced Patricia Lane to 60 years to life in state prison. On August 19, 2021, a jury convicted Lane of four counts of child sexual assault and found true a multiple victim enhancement.
Lane sexually assaulted four young boys when they were between the ages of 4 and 11 years old. The victims were adults when they disclosed the sexual abuse. Their testimony was heart wrenching as were the victim impact statements made at sentencing.
As the Court stated, “The victims are now vindicated.”
PROSECUTOR: Deputy District Attorney Teal Ericson, Special Assault & Child Abuse Unit
Miguel Hernandez Rivera was convicted by a jury of 17 counts of child sexual assault charges, one count of arranging a meeting with a minor with sexual intent and two counts of annoying a child with sexual intent. The jury also found true allegations that Rivera was out on bail when he abused a second victim and that he sexually assaulted multiple child victims.
Rivera was a soccer coach when he met the 13-year-old male victim. Rivera befriended the victim and his family, gaining their trust. Over the course of 10 months, Rivera sexually assaulted the victim nearly every day and directed the victim text him explicit photos, which he did. When the victim’s mother discovered the photos, she reported it to law enforcement. Rivera was arrested for these crimes and released from custody on bail. While out on bail, Rivera sexually assaulted the 12-year-old son of his long-time family friends. The second victim disclosed the abuse to his mother, who reported it to law enforcement. Rivera was arrested again and remained in custody throughout the trial.
Rivera faces a maximum sentence of 41 years in prison. Sentencing is set for October 28, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. in Department 10 before the Honorable Ernest Sawtelle.
PROSECUTOR: Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Aarseth, Special Assault & Child Abuse Unit
Jony Pantaleon was convicted by a jury of 15 counts of committing lewd and lascivious touching of a child with force, four counts of sexual intercourse with a child 10 years or younger, oral copulation with a child 10 years or younger, oral copulation by force and sexual intercourse by force.
Pantaleon was close with 14-year-old victim’s family. On October 22, 2019, the victim disclosed that Pantaleon had been sexually assaulting her since she was nine years old. The victim stated the sexual assaults occurred frequently throughout the years, and that Pantaleon used physical force in the sexual assaults.
Pantaleon faces a maximum sentence of 234 years to life in prison. Sentencing is set for November 5, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. in Department 4 before the Honorable Steve White.
PROSECUTOR: Deputy District Attorney James Wax, Adult Sexual Assault Prosecution Unit
The Honorable Sharon Lueras sentenced Dante Rivera to 6 years in state prison. On August 25, 2021, a jury convicted Rivera of three counts of sexual assault by force or fear.
On February 15, 2018, the victim attended a get-together hosted by Rivera. She did not know Rivera prior to this night. Rivera offered to let the victim rest in his bed before she drove home because she was tired and had been drinking. The victim awoke to Rivera pulling down her pants and committing unwanted sex acts on her, including rape. The victim told Rivera ‘no’ multiple times, but he proceeded to sexually assault her. DNA testing by the District Attorney’s Crime Lab confirmed that Rivera’s DNA was present on swabs taken from the victim and an evidentiary exam showed the victim had been sexually assaulted.
PROSECUTOR: Deputy District Attorney Sydne Jones, Special Assault & Child Abuse Unit
The Honorable Kevin McCormick sentenced Ismael Gonzalez-Rivas to 255 years to life in prison, plus an additional 10 years and 8 months. On July 22, 2021, a jury convicted Gonzalez-Rivas of 18 counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14, three counts of lewd acts on a child age 14 to 15, and one count of possession of child pornography. The jury also found true a multiple victim allegation.
Gonzalez-Rivas began sexually assaulting the first victim in 1999 when the victim was 6 years old. The abuse continued until 2002 when the victim was 9 years old. Three years later, Gonzalez-Rivas began sexually assaulting the second victim when he was approximately 7 years old and continued the abuse for eight years. Gonzalez-Rivas frequently showed the second victim child pornography while abusing him. Both victims reported the abuse in 2018 when they were adults. Officers executed a search warrant at Gonzalez-Rivas’s house and found child pornography.
PROSECUTOR: Deputy District Attorney Courtney Martin, Human Trafficking Unit
The Honorable Laurel White sentenced David Towner to 28 years in prison. On August 5, 2021, a jury convicted Towner of human trafficking, human trafficking of a minor, two counts of pimping, two counts of pandering, and two counts of witness intimidation.
On January 15, 2020, detectives from the Sacramento Police Department’s Human Trafficking Unit contacted a 16-year-old girl who they believed may be a victim of sex trafficking. When reviewing the victim’s cell phone with her consent, a detective found communication from Towner trying to recruit her into prostitution. Further investigation revealed evidence of Towner’s prolific efforts to recruit women to work in prostitution for him. Several other victims reported that Towner had sexually exploited them. One of the victims reported that Towner picked her up from Reno under the pretense of giving her a ride, but began trafficking her when they arrived in Sacramento. Towner used a variety of tactics to coerce her including threatening her, isolating her, closely monitoring her, and giving her heroin to impair her.