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Fugitive Child-Molestation Defendant Seeks to Remove Judge from Case

The child-molestation defendant who fled on the eve of his Santa Maria trial before accepting a plea deal he later sought to withdraw now wants to remove the judge from his case.

Clive Badi Decomarmond
Clive Badi Decomarmond

Instead of being sentenced as scheduled Thursday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Clive Badi Decomarmond, 42, of Santa Maria, filed a motion to recuse Judge John McGregor.

The judge has rescheduled sentencing for May 21, Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens said Thursday.

This is the latest delay in the case for the man arrested in 2013 for allegedly molesting multiple victims. 

The new motion comes weeks after McGregor denied the defendant’s previous motion to withdraw his plea agreement accepted in December before his second scheduled trial was set to begin. 

Just before his first scheduled trial last summer, Decomarmond, who was out on bail, fled the state and later was captured in Texas. 

In seeking to toss his plea, Decomarmond claimed his prior attorney pressured him to accept the plea agreement in December. A month later, he fired her and now is represented by the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office.

He also claimed he had a headache the day he entered into the agreement, contending his ailment stemmed from an injury received in Texas, where he was recaptured. But in early April the judge rejected the motion, saying there was no undue pressure and that the process of accepting the plea “was not a short one.”

After rejecting the motion, the judge set sentencing with an emphatic statement it would occur on that date. 

The new motion to recuse the judge cites the fact that McGregor, as a private attorney, had represented Decomarmond’s ex-wife in divorce proceedings, according to KEYT. An independent panel will review the situation.

The defendant faces a sentence of 42 years and four months in state prison, less than the 100 years to life possible if a jury had found him guilty of the charges.

Decomarmond originally was taken into custody in May 2013 in Grover Beach after a two-week investigation, the Santa Maria police said in a news release. 

He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. The investigation and reports of his arrest led to the discovery of other incidents. 

In all, the allegations involved five victims, authorities said previously.

Since his recapture, he has remained in custody.

A large contingent attends each hearing, with some reportedly connected to victims and others belonging to the Atascadero chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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