Bryce Lemonds has been in and out of district court for months. He was given probation in December on a charge of destruction of property. However, he was not released from jail after his day in court in December — as he was still facing other charges.
These other charges were originally statutory sexual seduction. When Bryce Lemonds was 18 years old, he was arrested for having sex with a 13 year-old girl. The Humboldt County DA’s Office agreed to let him plead to reduced charges — two counts of open and gross lewdness — with no mention of the age of girl. The plea agreement also said Lemonds would not have to register as a sex offender. Lemonds signed the agreement.
However, when Lemonds came to court with the plea agreement, the question arose as to whether the agreement was legal, since open and gross lewdness carries the requirement to register as a sex offender and that requirement is not optional. When it became apparent that Lemonds would have to register as a sex offender, he withdrew from the plea agreement, pleaded not guilty and asked to go to trial.
The DA’s Office then reduced the charge again in an effort to avoid trial. They offered to let Lemonds plead guilty to two counts of “unlawful conduct with a child,” gross misdemeanors not requiring registration as a sex offender. Lemonds then agreed to plead no contest.
By the time Lemonds was in court again March 13, for this final sentencing appearance, he had been in jail for 200 days. He told District Judge Michael Montero he was deeply sorry for his actions. “When I was 18, I made a huge mistake; I promise you it will never happen again.”
The defense requested that Lemonds be put on probation for three years, with no further time in jail. The judge asked the Department of Parole and Probation for an estimate of the soonest Lemonds could get off probation, assuming he was a model probationer. P&P said Lemond’s “three-year” term of probation could be over in as little as 18-20 months with good time credits.
Lemonds said he had ranch-hand jobs waiting in California. Putting him on probation would have required California to agree to accept supervision of his probation. The judge heard from the Department of Parole and Probation that California was unlikely to agree to supervise probation for someone convicted of only a gross misdemeanor.
In court, both the girl and her mother gave victim impact statements saying that Lemonds’ actions had very negatively affected the girl’s mental health and self-esteem and had adversely changed her life.
Montero sentenced Lemonds to 364 days in jail, the maximum amount of time in jail allowed by law under the reduced charges. Lemonds was given credit for 84 days already served between his first sentencing in December and his March 13 day in court.
The remaining 116 days he had already served in jail went toward the sentence in the former case. He is now serving out the remaining 280 days of his sentence in this case. He was assessed a $25 fee, a $153 DNA collection and analysis fee and a $500 public defender fee. He will not be placed on a term of probation in connection with these charges following his jail sentence.