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& # 39; I imagine in you. That's why I'm doing this: Federal choose doesn't give Pittsburg man a life-changing jail after being uncovered to gun fees – Pacifica Tribune

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OAKLAND – In the federal court hearing on Friday, Luis Augustine-Munoz did not seem like a likely candidate to avoid jail for being a criminal in possession of a gun that was reportedly stolen from the home of a retired San Jose Police officer.

For Augustine-Munoz, the time since his arrest in Pittsburg in July 2018 has been a road to redemption. He was quick to admit responsibility, excelled at his job, and eventually started his own t-shirt business. During the more than two years in which he waited for a verdict, he remained – perhaps most importantly to the judge – sober and free from arrest. Nonetheless, US District Judge Jon Tigar denied the prosecutor's request for a prison sentence and gave Augustine-Munoz six months at home and five years' custody release.

"Mr. Augustine-Munoz, I believe in you. That's why I do this," Tigar said in court on Friday morning. He later added: "I think you are a different person than when you were arrested. Everyone tells me that you are a different person, but I think it is you. "

Augustine-Munoz was arrested during a traffic obstruction in Pittsburg in July 2018, where an officer found the loaded stolen pistol and more than $ 3,000 in cash, as well as dozen of Xanax pills, some cocaine and 60 grams of marijuana. Given his two previous gun violence convictions in Contra Costa, he has been hit by federal charges with a maximum duration of 10 years.

However, after his arrest, Augustine-Munoz's family members wrote letters to the court that he looked at himself carefully and realized that drug addiction was the main culprit in his criminal history. He stayed sober for almost 700 days, which Tigar says was the main factor that convinced him to give up prison.

"If you're drunk or high, you're a criminal, but you haven't been drunk or high in almost two years. That gives me a lot of confidence," said Tigar. He added that Augustine-Munoz would go to jail would probably be surrounded by negative influences.

"I don't think your neighbors will be any safer from you if I take you into custody and you get out than if I supervise you and you keep doing what you do," he said.

For his part, Augustine-Munoz apologized in a letter to the court, saying he had spent his last two years studying, learning a new language and spending time with his family.

“I'm very upset with myself for getting into trouble again. I have forsaken my family and especially my wife whom I have put in the same situation before due to my drug addiction. I was fine for so long, but after the death of my great-grandmother, who died at my parents' house and also a childhood friend who overdosed, suffered a relapse, ”wrote Augustine-Munoz.

Before ending the hearing, Tigar warned Augustine-Munoz that he would be the one to convict him if he violated his parole. He took the unusual step of scheduling annual trials to review Augustine-Munoz's progress.

"Once a year I want to be reminded that I did the right thing," said Tigar.

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