Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Coach Jose Sandoval outside the Burbank courts building last fall.
After almost a year, the controversial criminal case against a Burbank baseball coach was dropped today. Attorney David D. Diamond says his client, Jose Sandoval , appeared in a Burbank court before Judge Dorothy B. Reyes and agreed to attend 12 counseling sessions; in exchange for the Burbank City Attorney’s Office dismissing the case, including the misdemeanor charge of battery against him.
This questionable case began with a heated altercation between Sandoval and an umpire during a baseball game at McCambridge Park, on May 18, 2009. Sandoval got suspended for the rest of the season, and later that suspension was extended to May of 2010. At the time, Sandoval was coaching five teams of about 80 kids in the sports program sponsored by the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. Many of the players on Sandoval’s teams are from low income and single parent homes. Sandoval has been coaching for more than 15 years.
The Burbank City Attorney’s Office dumped more grief on Sandoval by filing a charge of misdemeanor battery against the veteran coach. Starting on July 2, 2009, Sandoval has made numerous court appearances as this case dragged on for months. Finally today, some justice: “The umpire did not want to press charges and we provided dozens of witnesses who said my client did nothing wrong.” said Attorney David Diamond in a prepared statement. “Why was this case ever filed? Mr. Jose Sandoval is an icon in the volunteer community. The Parks and Recreation Department and the Burbank Athletic Foundation left dozens of kids without a coach because of their inability to be fair and objective. Our investigation has further yielded that a staff member of Parks and Recreation lied about witnessing the incident. He was not even near the field. ”
As for the counseling requirement, Diamond explains, “The counseling sessions will benefit my client in that he will be better able to deal with umpires who are predetermined to decide the outcome of a game based on factors that have nothing to do with the performance of the kids.” Hmm, sounds like the Burbank Park & Recreation Department needs to do a little investigating of this sports program.