Three days before a scheduled trial in Trinity County Superior Court, local doctor Randall Meredith pleaded no contest to domestic battery, and was given a deferred sentence of one year by visiting Judge Bradley L. Boeckman. The plea bargain waived a full court trial and took it off the court calendar. Had it gone to trial, Meredith would have faced charges that, in October 2017, he committed domestic battery on his now-divorced wife. Meredith has been represented in court by Attorney John Kucera of Redding.
After Meredith’s plea of no contest, Judge Boeckman agreed to a deferred sentence of one year. A deferred sentence (entry of judgment) is not a dismissal of the charge, but instead establishes a one-year gap between a plea entry and sentencing. Should Meredith meet all the requirements of the court, the charge will be dismissed by the court. Should Meredith break any laws or violate the restraining order, a judgment will then be made and sentencing will commence.
Meredith was required to complete 24 hours of counseling by a licensed domestic violence or anger management counselor, comply with a restraining order and comply with all laws. He was also ordered to report to the Sheriff’s Office to be booked into the county jail system.
Deputy District Attorney James Gandy asked that Meredith provide the DA’s Office with proof of enrollment in a licensed counseling program.
Judge Boeckman was methodical in explaining to Meredith that a no contest plea for a deferred entry of judgment, it carries the same force, effect and meaning in criminal court as a guilty plea.
“This is a classic carrot and stick type plea,” Judge Boeckman told Meredith, noting that if he meets all requirements, he will be allowed to withdraw his no contest plea, a plea of not guilty will be entered and the case will be dismissed.
“But if you violate the law or if you fail to complete all the sessions with a qualified counselor, at the end of the period, your deferred judgment will no longer be deferred and the court will impose judgment, and I believe the maximum for this offense is one year in custody … plus fees and fines.” By the plea entry, Meredith waived his right to a trial or to testify on his own behalf.
Four other previous charges were reduced to misdemeanors in September 2019. They alleged criminal threats on Feb. 2, 2018, corporal injury to a spouse on Oct. 13, 2017, assault by means likely to cause great bodily injury on Dec. 13, 2017, and assault by means likely to cause great bodily injury on Oct. 31, 2017.
The victim’s statement
When Meredith’s ex-wife approached the court to give her statement, Kucera objected, saying the statement would only be appropriate at the time of sentencing. After some discussion, Judge Boeckman allowed the statement, but further objections resulted in direction to speak only regarding count five, domestic battery.
She said that in October of 2016, Meredith grabbed her by the hair and waistband and slammed her to the floor.
“He kicked me in the abdomen several times when I was down. He hit me the same way he usually did, which was behind the hair so nobody would see it,” she said, appearing to lose her composure. “He punched me hard enough in the gut to take my breath away. He knocked me backwards and, as usual, he stood over me laughing and calling me pathetic and ugly after he was done assaulting me.”
The victim said the resulting effects were that she thought she was losing her mind, that she would be a burden on her kids, that Meredith hated her and that no one would ever want to be with her. She said Meredith told her she had Alzheimer’s disease and that medications prescribed by him further addled her brain.
“I’ve not taken any of them since 2018, and I don’t need them,” she said, saying she is not sure she will ever recover and has spent two years in therapy. She said she suffers anxiety attacks and has been shunned by community members over the court cases and her divorce.
She asked that Meredith be banned from dating sites and requested a lifelong restraining order against him.
“I think that community, many of whom are under his care, should be aware that he is a dangerous predator,” she said, before being stopped by an objection.
Meredith closed crying, saying she simply wants her life restored, and that a dismissal of the charges “does not seem right.”
Judge Boeckman said he is sorry for her situation but recommended that she keep the statement from which she was reading.
“I would not take this bargain unless I was hopeful that Mr. Meredith is going to be successful,” he said. “If he’s not successful, I or another judge will be imposing a sentence and if that occurs, your comments will be even more important to the court.”
After Gandy requested that Meredith be booked and fingerprinted as a result of the no contest plea, Judge Boeckman accepted the plea bargain and deferred entry of judgment until Jan. 29, 2021.
Meredith asked if he could report immediately from the court to jail but was ordered to do so in the next calendar week.