Judge won’t allow defendant to withdraw plea | RecordCourier.com

Judge won’t allow defendant to withdraw plea

by Sheila Gardner

A 51-year-old man with a lengthy criminal history was sentenced Monday to five years in Nevada state prison after a judge refused to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea.

District Judge Michael Gibbons rejected Daniel David Johnson’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. He pleaded guilty in November to two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

Gibbons told Johnson that he had ample opportunity with his lawyer, Matthew Ence, to go over the plea agreement during a lengthy court hearing.

Johnson claimed that Ence failed to represent his interests or obtain evidence the defendant claimed was favorable to his case.

“I don’t believe he ever worked for me,” Johnson said of Ence. “He wouldn’t even believe the facts.”

Ence said Monday that relations had broken down with Johnson. He said he gave his client a presentence report prepared by state parole and probation officials, but Johnson refused to review it with him.

“You faced even more charges,” Gibbons said. “With your prior record, you were facing a lot more time. Your chance of getting a favorable recommendation from parole and probation is small.

“You had hours to think about it,” Gibbons said.

Johnson was identified as the principal in drug transactions last spring and summer. He has been in Douglas County Jail for 175 days, for which he was given credit against his sentence.

Prosecutor Maria Pence said Johnson signed the plea agreement on Nov. 1,

“This is not his first court appearance,” she said. “He has a criminal history of 23 years with at least three felonies. This is simply another attempt to postpone the inevitable — going to prison for trafficking in this community.”

Gibbons sentenced him to five years in Nevada state prison on two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance. He must serve a minimum of 24 months, the sentences are to be served concurrently.

“All your problems here (District Court) are over now,” Gibbons said. “You have no reason to come back.”

Gibbons pointed out that with more convictions, Johnson could face a criminal enhancement of life in prison.

“Stay away from drugs,” Gibbons said.