A Tulare woman who plead guilty to multiple sex-related charges involving two teenage boys was ready to accept her sentence Monday, but a Tulare County judge put a stop to it.
Now, instead of serving a possible year in county jail, Coral Lytle, 41, could be sent to prison for 17 years.
Lytle was charged with 21 felony counts, including unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation and contacting a minor for sex. Court records show the incidents happened in 2017 between Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. The teenage boys were friends of her daughters, prosecutors said.
Judge Joseph Kalashian on Monday reviewed the probation department’s report and decided against imposing the indicated sentence. Judges can propose an indicated sentence as a way to give defendants an idea of what their punishment would be if they plead guilty.
Lytle’s attorney, Greg Hagopian, said his client agreed to plead guilty in exchange for serving one year in county jail, five years probation and a suspended six-year sentence. If she violates the terms of her probation, should would be sentenced to six years in prison.
Hagopian believes the judge was pressured by the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors, who were pushing for a harsher sentence. If found guilty on all charges, the maximum prison term for Lytle would be 17 years.
“She (Lytle) is obviously shocked and dismayed. She thought this was over,” Hagopian said. “She was ready to take on the stigma of a conviction and now she has to keep coming back to court.”
David Alavezos, Tulare County assistant district attorney, denied it pressured anyone, including Judge Kalashian. He said the office filed its opposition, known as a “statement of aggravation,” to the indicated sentence.
“Probation may or may not have considered our statement but the judge would have been required to read it,” Alavezos said. “Statements in aggravation are written statements of law and fact upon which the prosecution bases its sentence argument and are not generally considered a form of ‘putting pressure’ on the court.“
District Attorney spokesman Stuart Anderson said prosecutors have been “prepared since day one to go ahead with trial to prove our case to a jury.”
Adding an additional wrinkle to the case is the retirement of Kalashian. Hagopian said both sides are due back in court on April 22, when a new judge will take over.
Hagopian said he is going to ask the new judge to honor the plea deal.
“The court made an offer and she (Lytle) accepted it,” Hagopian said.