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Entries in Plea Deal (3)

Sunday
Jun232013

Jodi Arias Says She Might Consider Plea Deal to Avoid Death Penalty

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- Jodi Arias has suggested this weekend that she might make a plea deal to avoid the death penalty rather than appeal her murder conviction.

Hours before the movie Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret played on the Lifetime channel, Arias tweeted on Saturday, "Just don't know yet if I will plea or appeal."

It was one of two tweets sent out on her behalf by friends who maintain a twitter account for the convicted murderer.

"Let's clear up any confusion. Anyone asking 4 donation$ right now on my behalf 4 my appeals is not legit," she wrote in one tweet.

It was quickly followed by another stating, "I'm not currently accepting donations 4 appeals. Just don't know yet if I will plea or appeal."

Arias, 32, is apparently referring to a possible deal in which she would accept a life prison term instead of the death penalty in exchange for promising not to appeal her conviction.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in late May that he would have an "ethical obligation" to consider a plea deal if the defense offered one.

Arias was convicted in May of murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2007 with a flurry of stab wounds, a slashed throat and gunshot to the head.

But the Arizona jury could not agree on whether to sentence her to death.

The court has set July 18 to begin selecting a new jury to decide the penalty phase of Arias' case. Her lawyers have asked that the trial be delayed until January.

If a second jury is also unable to agree on whether to execute Arias, the judge would decide whether she gets life with or without the possibility of parole.

Arias also tweeted this weekend that she has completed a new painting, a portrait of a bighorn sheep which she is offering for sale for $2,000.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec312012

Florida Judge Offers Plea Deal to Neglectful Mom; Requires No More Kids

Hemera/Thinkstock(WINTER HAVEN, Fla.) -- The lawyer of a Florida mother who has been ordered not to have children during her 13-year probation sentence is having second thoughts about the plea deal.

"I've been doing this for 32 years now and I, quite frankly, have never researched that particular issue, but my gut is telling me you can't do that," attorney Nathaniel White told ABC News Monday. "This isn't something that happens every day. It's a very unusual situation."

The demand shocked both the woman and her attorney, who failed to challenge the judge's request in court Friday but now says he doubts its legality.

Kimberly Lightsey, 30, was facing four counts of child abuse for an incident on Halloween 2011 when she left her four children, ages 2 to 11 at the time, at a hotel while she went out "partying," her attorney said.

She left her children with another hotel patron named Simone who also had children. Lightsey said the woman had agreed to watch the kids.

Several hours later, Simone texted Lightsey to find out her room number.

"Apparently, Simone had been doing a little partying of her own and forgot where Ms. Lightsey's room was," White said. "In the meantime, one of the children who has to use a wheelchair because of physical limitations he has, he had gotten out into the hallway and managed to turn himself over in the wheelchair, so he's out there hollering."

Authorities were called and Lightsey was eventually charged with four counts of felony child abuse. She was convicted on all counts.

Prosecutors asked for a 32-month jail sentence in court, but Judge Ernest Jones Jr. had another idea.

At Lightsey's Friday sentencing, the judge proposed two years of house arrest and 13 years of probation, with the condition that she agree not to have any more children during that time.

"I admit that when he threw that out there about no kids, that's when I was a little stunned," White said. "I just sat there and I looked at the judge without saying anything because at that point I don't want to blow it because the judge hadn't definitely decided yet what he was going to do."

White said that on the one hand, he was worried that if he spoke up, the judge might get irritated and send Lightsey to jail.

"On the other hand, my mind was screaming, 'I don't think this is legal,'" he said. "'I don't think you can do that, judge.'"

"The judge looks over at my client and says, 'Well, what do you think? Or you don't like that?'" White recalled.

"She had turned around and looked at the back of the courtroom where her boyfriend was," White said. "And she said something like, 'My boyfriend and I were thinking once things settle down of maybe having a child.'"

White said Jones answered with, "Well, you've already got four."

White added, "I think Jones' heart was in the right place. I'm not going to say that it's necessarily a bad thing for this woman to be told to have no more kids because she's got her hands full. But I don't think he could have legally prevented that."

The judge was not available to comment Monday. The American Civil Liberties Union said it is looking into the matter.

Lightsey accepted the condition.  However, after having time to think, White said he has a number of concerns about the edict.

"What happens if she gets herself pregnant?" White wondered. "Oh, my God, what a dilemma that is."

He said he plans to sit down with his client and encourage her to appeal the order.

The Florida judge's condition was not the first time this year a judge has made an unusually personal demand.

In February, a Florida judge ordered a man to take his wife out to dinner and bowling, complete with flowers. The sentence came after the couple had a physical altercation when the husband forgot the wife's birthday.

And in Oklahoma, in November, a judge sentenced a teen offender to attend church as part of his probation arrangement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Rejects Talk of Plea Deal

Richard Drew-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn say the former International Monetary Fund chief will not accept any plea deal. Prosecutors reportedly want Strauss-Kahn to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

"The investigative process is continuing, and no decisions have been made," a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said Wednesday, according to New York ABC News affiliate WABC.
Strauss-Kahn has been charged with trying to rape a housekeeper and forcing her to perform oral sex in a New York City hotel in May. The next scheduled court appearance is July 18.

The prosecutor's office said last week that questions about the victim's credibility had crippled the Manhattan district attorney's case, which resulted in his being released from house arrest.

Prosecutors outlined her lies and inconsistencies about the case in a three-page letter. It included details of a recorded call from the hotel maid to her boyfriend in an immigration jail in Arizona, where she told him, "Don't worry. This guy has a lot of money. I know what I am doing."

In addition to cheating on her taxes and lying about her income, the hotel maid also falsely claimed on her application for political asylum to the United States that she'd been gang raped in her native country of Guinea. But even after she admitted to altering her account of what happened after the encounter with Strauss-Kahn, prosecutors maintained there was still evidence to suggest a sexual assault had taken place.

But Sax, a former prosecutor with no connection to this case, is not convinced that the case is strong enough to proceed to trial. "A prosecutor has an obligation to bring charges only when they can believe that they can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, Sax said. "And at the end of the day, if you can't believe your witness, you don't have a case."

Strauss-Kahn's defense team indicated last week that unless prosecutors presented strong evidence, the former frontrunner to become the next president of France would not be willing to plead guilty to any crime.

If that is true, the district attorney's only options would be to drop the charges or take the case to trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio