The lawyer for an Arizona woman and the former mayor of San Luis who pleaded guilty to ballot abuse is asking a judge for leniency in sentencing her.
Guillermina Fuentes, 66, pleaded guilty to one count of ballot abuse on June 2 and admitted to collecting four early voting ballots during the 2020 election and then giving them to Alma Juarez, who dropped them off at a polling place.
Juarez also pleaded guilty to ballot abuse, but entered an agreement with prosecutors in exchange for probation.
Prosecutors in the case are asking Yuma County Superior Court Judge Roger Nelson to hand Fuentes a sentence of one year, but her lawyers argue that any time in prison would be a miscarriage of justice.
“She entered a plea of guilty to ballot abuse — that is, delivering four lawfully voted, signature-verified ballots,” Anne Chapman, Fuentes’ lawyer, said. “The rest of the allegations against Ms. Fuentes are untrue, unfounded, untested and largely made-up by election-denying political opponents who have a political ax to grind.”
Fuentes was formerly the San Luis mayor and is a member of a school board.
Several people who testified in court on Thursday said that any time in prison for Fuentes wouldn’t make sense, and it would harm the community.
Defense mitigation expert Sherri Castillo said that she interviewed people in Fuentes’ community, as well as Fuentes, and said that she’s extremely involved and volunteers regularly.
“She puts me to shame, I can tell you that,” Castillo said. “I’ve never come across someone who gives back more to the community than Ms. Fuentes does.”
“Ms. Fuentes not being in the community would be a detriment to the community,” Castillo added.
Luis Marquez, a retired police officer, said that “I think that in our community a lot of us look up to her.”
A county probation officer also testified before the judge, saying that Fuentes shouldn’t spend time in jail.
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