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Not guilty plea expected from Efren Carrillo on Friday

  • Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo talks with supporters following an October court appearance. (PD FILE, 2013)

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo is expected to plead not guilty Friday to a misdemeanor peeking charge stemming from his predawn arrest outside a Santa Rosa woman's home this summer.

But it's not clear if Carrillo will be signaling his intent to take the case to trial or whether he's making a procedural step that could open the door to future talks leading to a plea bargain.

Carrillo, 32, has publicly apologized for his behavior, which he linked to binge drinking, but has avoided a detailed explanation of his actions leading to his arrest.

Reached Thursday by phone, he would not reconcile his apparent acceptance of blame in a statement delivered at a Board of Supervisors meeting in August with a possible not guilty plea.

“At this point, there's nothing more I can say,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo's lawyer, Chris Andrian, acknowledged Thursday that people might trip over the perceived disparity. But he said entering a plea was necessary to advance the legal process.

He said he was hoping to negotiate. Still, there have been no talks so far and he did not expect the case to be resolved soon, he said.

“Unless there are going to be substantial discussions tomorrow,” Andrian said.

Andrian expressed doubt over whether the peeking charge could be proven at trial. He said he reviewed police evidence and didn't see how it applied in Carrillo's case.

Peeking, which is similar to prowling, alleges loitering on someone's property and looking in a window without permission.

“What's their theory?” Andrian said.

Special prosecutor Cody Hunt said Thursday the charge is supported by police reports and his own investigation. He declined to elaborate but said he was prepared to try Carrillo.

The second-term supervisor faces a period of probation up to a maximum of six months in jail if convicted, he said.

It's not a crime that is eligible for dismissal through participation in a court diversion program for first-time offenders, he said.

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