UKIAH, 8/31/22 — Former Ukiah Police Dept. Sgt Kevin Murray was sentenced to two years probation and 250 hours of community service Tuesday after taking a plea deal that dismissed multiple felony sexual assault charges. The deal allowed the ex-cop to dodge a public trial as well as the minimum 16-month jail term indicated on his plea form. Murray has been ordered to provide a DNA sample to the state and participate in the three-year Sex Offenders And Families in Effective Recovery (SAFER) program for at least one year, but he will not be required to register as a sex offender.
Murray pleaded no contest July 7 to violating Penal Code 136.1 (b) 1, or dissuading a victim from reporting her sexual assault. His attorneys have stated in court briefs that Murray pleaded no contest based on an understanding with the court that no jail time would be imposed. P.C. 136.1 is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on circumstances. After serving out his sentence, Murray may be eligible to have the felony reduced to misdemeanor or expunge it entirely, meaning he could legally purchase firearms again or possibly return to work in law enforcement.
Trent James, who served as both a deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and a canine officer with the Willits Police Department before launching a YouTube channel criticizing police corruption, said in a letter to The Voice that this case demonstrates the justice system is broken — and dirty cops get “extreme leeway and special treatment” on the rare occasions they face criminal prosecution in Mendocino County.
“Murray’s sentencing sends a very clear message to not only the citizens of Mendocino County, but also current law enforcement, that this type of behavior is okay,” James wrote. “With this ‘slap on the wrist’ punishment for extremely egregious crimes there is very little, if any, deterrence from others committing the same crimes.”
The sentencing hearing was well attended, with a full gallery and numerous local journalists monitoring the court’s public Zoom meeting — but courtroom staff did not start the meeting or admit reporters prior to the start of the hearing. Moreover, the audio was muted. The Voice will obtain transcripts of the hearing and post those documents as soon as possible.