U.S. fights suspect’s bid to change plea
NEW ORLEANS — Federal prosecutors oppose a man’s effort to withdraw his guilty plea on charges related to the 2016 shooting of a Louisiana law officer.
Jarvis Hardy recently moved to withdraw his guilty plea on drug and firearm charges. The plea was part of a deal that included dropping an attempted-murder charge and a major firearms charge in the shooting of federal task force member Stephen Arnold. Hardy’s motion said he accepted the deal and a negotiated 35-year sentence because he faced a minimum 45-year sentence if convicted as charged.
Now, his lawyers say changes in federal law could mean a lower minimum sentence.
Prosecutors said in a Friday filing that Hardy made the plea knowingly and that it should stand.
“The record clearly shows that at the time of his plea, Hardy was fully aware of what he was doing and the consequences he faced in light of the then applicable law. His knowing plea and valid agreement does not become vulnerable because a subsequent change in the law altered the sentence on a count that was dismissed,” the prosecutors’ document says.
Arnold, a Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy working with federal agents, was shot and severely wounded during a raid on Hardy’s home.
In the documents filed Friday, prosecutors said Arnold is now in a vegetative state at a nursing home.
“Stephen lives only with the support of machines and round the clock care,” the document says.
Hardy’s motion said that he has long maintained that he fired a weapon not knowing that Arnold was a law officer, but believing that his home was being illegally invaded.
A hearing is set for Thursday.