SF Superior Court

SF judge scraps plea deal after new gun arrest

A sentencing hearing for Tyree Vaughn was abandoned today when a vexed Judge Harry Dorfman scrapped a plea agreement he had endorsed only weeks earlier.

The move came as the defendant was arrested again – this time for firearms and ammunition possession – only days after the deal was inked on March 28.

“It is not often that I change my mind between accepting a plea and time of sentencing,” Dorfman told defense attorney Eden Schwartz.

“Your client apparently couldn’t stay crime-free for two weeks.”

Vaughn – a convicted felon with an array of arrests – was due to be sentenced for thefts of more than $6,000-worth of goods from Safeway and Smart & Final stores in San Francisco. The Safeway store at 4950 Mission Street in the Excelsior neighborhood was repeatedly hit.

He was arrested by SFPD in San Francisco’s Sunnydale development with a backpack containing a gun plus armor-piercing ammunition.

“I am urging the court to go along with the negotiated disposition,” said Schwartz, who said that there were doubts as to whether the firearms found belonged to her client and that he “fully intended” to fight the charges.

Calling the situation “unfortunate” Assistant District Attorney Joseph Leveroni pointed out that the plea agreement reflected both the strengths and the weaknesses of the people’s case and was made after consulting with the victims.

As to the firearms charges, Liveroni said that “it is more than reasonable to believe” the weapon was Vaughn’s and that the case “was not controversial at all.”

“I let him out of custody,” lamented the judge – who spelt out his view that “guns kill people” and that allowing the plea agreement to stand was “not in the interests of the community.”

He then formally set aside the proceedings on March 28, reinstated all charges and allegations and reinstated the defendant’s not guilty pleas and denials.

The judge attemped to enter “no bail” orders on Vaughn’s matters but was stymied because of a previous ruling by a judge in another department. Vaughn remains in custody pending further hearings.

Earlier in Department 12 Judge Patrick Thompson referred James Brown to Department 15 (mental health court) for further proceedings.

Brown was booked on April 6 2023 for causing injury to an elder and burglary. He has a substantial recent history of offenses and did not appear to be in control of his behaviour during the hearing, telling the judge “you are lying,” “there is no crime here,” and “ I want O.R. [own recognizance bail].” He remains in custody.

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