The man accused of threatening Sacramento city leaders appeared in court Tuesday and asked a judge to schedule a hearing for attorneys to present evidence and testimony in his criminal case as soon as possible.
Alexander Francis Hoch, 37, is accused of threatening City Councilwomen Katie Valenzuela and Mai Vang and City Councilwoman-elect Karina Talamantes, who at the time worked for outgoing Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, who was elected to the State Senate in November’s election.
Tuesday’s hearing was intended for the court to determine whether it should set a bail amount for Hoch, who has been held without bail at the Sacramento County Main Jail for more than three weeks. Instead, Hoch asked for a preliminary hearing to be scheduled within 10 court days.
Sacramento Superior Court Commissioner Ken Brody asked Hoch if he was certain he wanted to move forward with his case instead giving his court-appointed attorney more time prepare his legal defense.
“I’m sure,” Hoch told Brody. “All this information is on my Facebook page, and part of it is on the record.”
Then, Brody cut off Hoch, telling the defendant “I would strongly advise you not to discuss the actual case on the record.”
Brody relieved the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office, because it would not be ready to proceed with Hoch’s preliminary hearing next week. Brody appointed a conflicts law firm to represent Hoch; an attorney will later be assigned to take on his case. The preliminary hearing was scheduled to begin Dec. 16.
Hoch’s Facebook posts
Hoch’s wrote in a series of Facebook posts on Nov. 9, the day after the 2022 midterms and three days before police officers arrested him at an East Sacramento home.
In one of the Nov. 9 Facebook posts, Hoch wrote “The final piece, I issued death threats recently as a test. ... I am still free. ... My legitimate legal purpose: If I don’t get arrested I can’t challenge this in court. ...”
Sacramento police arrested Hoch after a five-hour standoff Nov. 12 at a home in the 3000 block of C Street in East Sacramento. Officers were there to serve a warrant for Hoch’s arrest in connection with threats he allegedly made online.
Police said Hoch refused to come of out of the home, so SWAT team officers ultimately “deployed a chemical agent” before Hoch surrendered.
The Sacramento County District’s Attorney’s Office has charged Hoch with two felony counts of threatening the life of a government official and one felony charge of threatening to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury stemming from reported incidents on Nov. 10.
Several days after his arrest, Superior Court Judge Kenneth C. Meimemeier granted protective orders against Hoch. The court documents instruct Hoch to stay 100 yards away from Valenzuela, Vang and Talamantes, along with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Ashby.
Documents filed in court in support of the request for a restraining order allege that Hoch had sent harassing messages for months to Valenzuela, Vang, Talamantes and Ashby. The messages escalated Nov. 10, when Hoch allegedly emailed Valenzuela a death threat.
“I’m going to kill you, Andrea, Anthony, karina and steinbergg... you have to f------ kill me,” Hoch wrote in the email, submitted to the court.
That email prompted Valenzuela to contact the Sacramento Police Department, she wrote in the request for the restraining order.
The filed documents also allege that Hoch previously visited places where he was likely to find Talamantes, a Sacramento County Board of Education member who worked as Ashby’s chief of staff. She will now represent the city’s 3rd District, centered around South Natomas.
A hearing for the court to determine whether to make the restraining order permanent has been scheduled for Friday.
Hoch also faces probation violation charge
Hoch has faced criminal charges before in Sacramento County.
Prosecutors filed assault charges against Hoch on two occasions in 2020. The reported assaults seriously injured a man in August 2020 and again in October 2020, according to filed criminal complaints.
The assault charge stemming from the October 2020 incident was dismissed Jan. 26, 2021. That same day, Hoch was convicted in the August 2020 assault, and part of his sentence included probation time. He now is accused of violating that probation in connection with the alleged threats made Nov. 10.
On Tuesday, Court Commissioner Brody said the probation violation charge will be delayed until the completion of the newest criminal case.