Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge of misdemeanor peeking, five months after being arrested partially clothed outside a Santa Rasa woman’s home.
A lawyer for Carrillo, 32, appeared before Judge Lawrence Antolini and entered the plea on his behalf. Carrillo did not attend the hearing.
Antolini set a trial for Feb. 28, but ordered both sides to try to reach a settlement and return to court Jan. 17 to report any resolution.
Carrillo’s lawyer, Chris Andrian, wouldn’t say whether the talks would focus on a lesser charge or a reduced punishment. Carrillo faces up to six months in jail if convicted.
“I’ll hear them out. They’ll hear me out. We’ll see how it goes,” Andrian said.
Prosecutor Cody Hunt has said he was optimistic about a pre-trial settlement. He is expected to participate in talks along with a supervisor from the state Attorney General’s Office.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for the unidentified woman expressed disappointment that the process was taking so long.
“If he was truly remorseful, he would have taken responsibility by now,” attorney Rosanne Darling said.
She said her client was prepared to testify. The woman has not initiated any civil action, Darling said.
“She has to take this one step at a time,” Darling said.
Carrillo, who had ambitions for higher office, was arrested in early morning hours of July 13 after a woman called 911 to report someone outside her home at Stony Point Road and West Third Street.
She reported someone tried to get into her window and that she was awakened by the sound of window blinds being moved.
The woman called 911 a second time 10 minutes later to say the person had knocked on her front door, identified himself as a neighbor and ran away.
Officers arrived and found a torn window screen. Carrillo was in the area, clad in just socks and underwear, carrying a cellphone.