Grass Valley robbery case ends in no contest pleas |

Grass Valley robbery case ends in no contest pleas

James Sandoval

Discussion of a trial for the two remaining defendants in the Hot Spot Smoke Shop robbery case ended abruptly Monday when both men opted to plead no contest.

Joseph Daniel Sandoval, 32, and James Edwin Sandoval, 34, both took plea deals in the case that stems from the January 2017 robbery and car chase that led authorities from Grass Valley to Sacramento.

James Sandoval pleaded no contest to second-degree robbery and two counts of unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle. He also admitted to a special allegation of using a firearm.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger is expected to sentence James Sandoval to 10 years and four months in prison.

Joseph Sandoval pleaded no contest to charges of unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle and evading an officer. He pleaded no contest to grand theft of a firearm in an unrelated case.

His plea deal calls for a three-year, four-month sentence.

James Sandoval is scheduled for a Feb. 26 sentencing. Joseph Sandoval’s sentencing is set for April 6. The judge likely will dismiss any remaining charges against the men at sentencing.

A third man in the case — 32-year-old Anthony Richard Vicente — pleaded guilty in December to robbery, possession of a firearm and two counts of vehicle theft. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 9.

Deputy District Attorney Jesse Wilson on Monday told the judge he intended to withdraw the plea offers to both Sandovals, if they chose against taking them that day. Defense attorney Jennifer Granger, who represents James Sandoval, said her client wanted to take the deal. However, Wilson required that both men plead.

Joseph Sandoval had three unrelated cases, one of them the robbery. He initially balked at the deal.

“My client’s hands are tied,” Granger said. “He has the one case. My client would like to resolve this case.”

Heidelberger appeared prepared to set trial dates for the pair when defense attorney Bill Walker, who represents Joseph Sandoval, said his client intended to take the deal.

Authorities initially accused all three men of robbing the smoke shop of cash and electronics. An officer spotted them the following day at a gas station, leading to a car chase that ended in Sacramento with the arrests of both Sandovals. Vicente was found weeks later.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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