Ruben Ebron, the center of the investigation into the death of Lonzie Barton, is trying to dispose of his Baker County drug cases, but the judge will not accept the negotiated disposition. According to a report in the Florida Times Union, Ebron entered pleas of no contest to the drug charges and one count of resisting an officer without violence. The deal made with prosecutors was that he would serve two years in prison and that sentence would run concurrent (at the same time) as his Duval County case. The judge in this Baker County criminal case chose not to accept the offer. The state attorney’s office and his criminal defense lawyer must go back to the drawing board to construct a deal that will be acceptable to the judge.
In some criminal cases in Duval County, judges will reject a plea deal. Criminal judges have discretion to accept or reject any negotiated dispositions. When someone is arrested for a crime in Jacksonville or elsewhere in Florida, the case can resolve in a few ways. The state attorney’s office can drop the charges outright and of course, that is the best possible outcome. If the prosecutor elects to file formal charges, then a defendant can fight the charge and make the prosecutor prove it beyond all reasonable doubt. This includes deposing possible witnesses in the case and may eventually lead to a trial. Very few cases actually end up in a trial, probably around 2 %. A criminal defendant may choose to enter a plea “to the court”. This means you enter a plea of guilty and place yourself at the mercy of the judge. You are entitled to a sentencing hearing where you will be given the opportunity to present mitigating witnesses on your behalf as well as speak to the court yourself.
The far majority of criminal cases end up being negotiated. This means that the prosecutor or the defense makes an offer to the other and if accepted, a plea is entered to the court. Some times, judges think the sentence is too light and will reject the plea outright. Some will tell you what sentence they will take and some will just hint. The value of hiring an experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney is that they will know the ins and outs of the courthouse, the prosecutors assigned to the case and sometimes most importantly, the judge.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.