Portola Valley crime: Woman faces prison, again

She has been to prison nine times

Confinement in state prison again could be ahead for San Francisco resident Jennifer Leigh Prince, 40, who has a connection to a series of December 2010 Portola Valley property crimes.

Ms. Leigh Prince, who has been in prison nine times, pleaded no contest on Aug. 8 to possession of stolen property and identity theft, both felonies, prosecutors said.

In the plea agreement, prosecutors from the San Mateo County District Attorney's office had asked that Ms. Leigh Prince plead guilty and be sentenced to five years in prison with no chance of parole, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said in a telephone interview.

Superior Court Judge Lisa Novak modified the agreement to the include a range of possible sentences, from probation all the way up to a maximum of seven years behind bars, Ms. Guidotti said.

A probation report and sentencing is set for Oct. 4. Ms. Leigh Prince had been scheduled for a jury trial to begin Sept. 6. She remains in jail on bail of $25,000, according to the District Attorney's Office.

As a parolee with previous felony convictions, she is subject to more severe sentences for subsequent felony offenses.

The District Attorney's office and Ms. Leigh Prince's attorney have not yet responded to interview requests.

The Portola Valley connection occurred at around 6 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2010, when a deputy from the county Sheriff's Office, called to investigate an auto burglary in the Brookside Park neighborhood, discovered two women sitting in a green Jeep Cherokee parked on Crescent Avenue with no license plates, according to a deputy's account.

While examining the women's IDs, the deputy noticed an object in the vehicle that resembled an object reported stolen in the auto burglary, at which point the driver put the Jeep into gear and drove off, the deputy said. The deputy gave chase but lost sight of the vehicle.

A Sheriff's Office report subsequently noted three thefts and two burglaries reported for Dec. 23 in Brookside Park.

The next day in a traffic stop, San Mateo police arrested Ms. Leigh Prince. She allegedly gave the officer an ID and was in possession of a checkbook that were reported stolen in two Coastside auto burglaries three weeks earlier, she had a warrant out for her arrest, and she was in possession of four $20 bills with the same serial number, deputies said.

After consulting with Sheriff's Office investigators, police determined that Ms. Prince had been driving the green Jeep that night in Portola Valley.

The report is silent on whether the second woman in the Jeep was ever caught.

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Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm

What happened to the 3 strikes law? She's a serial thief -- been in prison NINE times, she agreed to a sweet deal of 5 years/no parole, BUT the judge says that parole is still an option that could be considered???

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I'm no expert, but it seems to me that judicial discretion is a hallmark of a just society. That's why they're called judges.

The voice of the people -- in this case, the Three Strikes Law -- can be a fine example of this maxim: "If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

"String em up. It'll teach 'em a lesson." That's another one.

I prefer the approach of Sister Helen Prejean, who advocates a deeper understanding and compassion. Maybe this judge has something of this attitude about her.

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Who said "string them up?" Yes, it's a heartbreaking story, drugs destroys people. But, the woman needs to be removed from society for awhile.

Do you want to find her in your own home one day? You need to feel for BOTH her and her victims. Drugs are a downward spiral -- it gets worse. Having had one of my friends murdered by a home intruder changed my mind.

Hopefully there is no access to more drugs wherever she is sent and she will have access to medical/psychological care at a facility.

But she's told us 9 times over that she can't be loose on the streets until she is rehabilitated.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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