Most of the time it is never the crime that is all that bad but covering up and getting caught is what's always reprehensible and unforgivable.
In any event a plea deal was worked out with prosecutors that would give the 74 year-old Baca only six months behind bars. That truly would've been a slap on the wrist. When the judge got wind of the sweetheart deal he rejected it outright.
Baca had two choices, gamble on the judge's uncertain punishment or stand trial before the jury of his peers. Going to trial would give Baca in effect a life sentence if he was convicted. Reportedly Baca suffers from Alzheimer's disease.
By Baca electing to go to trial he can remain free on bail for as long as three years as the case works its way through the system. Frankly under the circumstances that's the best choice because by the time the trial begins Baca may know longer be competent to stand trial!
I am no fan of Lee Baca. The reason is simple in that he has denied all but a few connected politicians the ability to protect themselves with concealed a weapons permits. He flatly denied permits in the most populous and crime ridden county in the state. Frankly I would let him go to the gallows for that violation of constitutional rights.
I doubt that Baca will ever see the inside of a jail cell and will have escaped Justice all together.