Tuesday, June 24, 2008

KXAN: Judge rejects ex-Georgetown sergeant's plea bargain

Here is the Jimmy Fennel update from KXAN:

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) -- A judge on Tuesday rejected the plea bargain presented in the case of Jimmy Fennell, the former Georgetown police officer charged with sexual assault.

Fennell pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual misconduct last month.

It is rare for a judge to reject a plea bargain agreement, but some said it was no surprise because Fennell was getting just two years in prison.

"Ninety-five percent of all defendants who are resolving their cases resolve them with recommendations that are made from the DA's office occasionally the recommendation that we make the court feels needs to be decided by a jury this is one of those cases," said Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley.

"Does it reduce his odds of coming out as innocent, because he's already pled guilty? No, the law does not permit anything to be used in a jury trial that was conducted during plea bargain negotiations," said defense attorney Bob Phillips.

Fennell, 34, went before Judge Burt Carnes Tuesday afternoon expecting to be sentenced to a two-year prison term along with 10 years' probation and a $5,000 fine.

He pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual misconduct stemming from an incident in October. That's when Fennell was accused of driving a drunk woman to a secluded area while on duty for the Georgetown Police Department and asking her to dance and then sexually assaulting her as she leaned against his police cruiser.

Fennell will go before a jury Sept. 8.

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