By Helen Greenia
RIVERSIDE, CA – A man facing charges of possession of drugs and paraphernalia and violation of parole on a domestic violence case took a plea deal here Tuesday in Riverside County Superior Court, agreeing to go to jail and give up his rights to avoid probation.
But, as in other plea deals, Joseph Ward had to give up his constitutional rights to get the deal.
The judge explained, “You have the right to have a jury trial in this case, you can cross-examine witnesses and challenge the evidence against you. You have the right to use the subpoena power in the court. Are you willing to waive all of these rights in order to plead guilty?”
Ward agreed, and plead guilty in the case of possession of drugs and paraphernalia. In exchange, the district attorney’s office agreed to not place Ward on probation in this case. Instead, he will be fined and be sentenced for 10 days in custody.
Ward also mentioned that he is currently unemployed and unable to pay his fines for his possession of drugs and paraphernalia.
For the charge of violating parole from a domestic violence case, the judge explained to Ward the rights he’d be forfeiting, including “there will not be a trial. You are entitled to a court hearing, where you can challenge the evidence against you and cross-examine the witnesses the same you would at a trial. You have the right of self-incrimination, calling witnesses of your own. Are you also willing to give these rights up?”
Ward again agreed, admitted to the violation and was ordered to serve the 10 days in custody concurrent with his previous violation. In addition, he must re-enroll in his domestic violence program, a program he was already supposed to be enrolled in prior to these recent violations.
In addition to his sentence in custody and his domestic violence program, he must complete 20 hours of community service by April 18, 2023.
The judge stated, “Listen here sir, you have 20 hours that you have to do. You can do it anywhere, at any nonprofit. Make sure you get that done, because I don’t want you to come back on a petty violation from that. Make sure to get your classes done and your community service done.”