Fresno County DA charges Joaquin Arambula with child cruelty. Will he face jail time?

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The criminal case against a Valley lawmaker is moving forward.

The Fresno County District Attorney is charging Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula with misdemeanor cruelty to a child.

The Criminal Complaint accuses the 41-year-old of inflicting quote — “physical pain or mental suffering.” 

He was arrested at his child’s school after teachers noticed the alleged injuries. 

Arambula says the charges may be politically motivated. He sent us a statement saying, “My wife and I are shocked that the District Attorney have decided to file charges. The allegation that I may have harmed one of my daughters is false and unthinkable.”

It’s been nearly 3-months since our interview with Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, when he was arrested on December 10.

“I had a daughter that was acting out, I’m embarrassed to say it’s something we don’t routinely do but I did spank her on her bottom,” says Arambula – (D) District 31.

Police have said spanking on a child’s bottom is not a crime.

However, Tuesday morning, the Fresno County District Attorney filed charges against Arambula. 

Our legal analyst, Roger Wilson says the DA must have decided Arambula crossed a legal line.

“Apparently, that’s what happened here,” he says.”They deemed whatever punishment that was inflicted on this child was not justifiable and so they filed a charge.”

Wilson says if convicted, Arambula could face up to 6-months behind bars and up to three years probation.

“I doubt he has to go to jail because he has no prior criminal record,” he says.

Arambula’s statement, issued through his attorney, continued saying that he believes the case may be politically motivated, says in part, “While politics may have influenced the decision to file, my wife and I are confident that our judicial system will find this allegation to be false.”

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office fired back saying that the case against Arambula is based entirely on evidence, not politics.

They issued a statement that says in part, “Any claim that the decision to file charges is politically motivated is absolutely 100 percent not correct. We base our filing decisions on the law and evidence collected during the investigation.”

Arambula’s political career is in question. The Fresno County Republican Party says they believe Arambula should step down.

“I think we just have to be patient and see how this goes,” says Fred Vanderhoof, chairman of the Fresno County Republican Party.

But the Fresno County Democratic Party says they stand behind Armabula.

“We’re confident that everything will go smoothly and he will be back in the assembly,” says Michael Evans, chairman of the Fresno County Democratic Party.

Arambula’s statement also says, “I have voluntarily taken a temporary leave of absence from the Assembly and have directed my attorney to request a speedy trial so this issue can be resolved as quickly as possible.” 

We spoke to the Medical Board of California about Arambula. They sent us a statement that says in part, “The Board is aware of the arrest and the charges filed and will be looking into the matter, as it does with all complaints it receives. In general terms, the Board’s discipline can be as severe as license revocation.”

Arambula is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning.

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