U.S. fights sus­pect’s bid to change plea

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

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.

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