April 14, 2005

I wouldn'da did what I did, if I hadn'da been high.

Taking a page out of the politicians scandal control handbook, a Bettendorf man has entered a plea of "I don't recall."...
A district court judge allowed a Bettendorf man to enter a plea Wednesday to an assault charge because he didn't remember nearly beating his ex-wife to death.

Judge David Sivright Jr. allowed Randy Lee Harms, 44, to make an "Alfred Plea" -- a plea to serve his best interests without admitting guilt -- on a charge of willful injury causing serious injury. [does this have something to do with Batman's butler?]

Mr. Harms said he was on a "368-day binge," sleeping three hours a week and staying awake on crack cocaine, when he went to confront his ex-wife Sept. 20, 2004, at her home in Bettendorf. He wanted answers to lies about the past, he said. [well, at least he can say that he made it three days past the coveted year-long bender mark.]

"I was down and out, an alcoholic and drug addict," Mr. Harms said in court. "I don't remember how I got there or what happened next. I only remember going in the door and going out of the door. She was laying in a pool of blood, and I ran."

He didn't remember the details. He said he believed police when they told him he went into her home, beat her with his fists and hit her on the head with a glass ashtray.

Assistant Scott County Attorney Bob Weinberg said if the case went to trial, intoxication wouldn't work as a defense.

"We have proof from the ex-wife that he said he was going to kill her several times," he said, adding the woman's injuries were serious.

In order for Judge Sivright to accept the plea agreement, which dropped an attempted murder charge, he needed proof. Usually, defendants admit to committing their crimes.

"How do I get a factual basis for this if he doesn't remember?" the judge asked rhetorically.

"I must have did it," Mr. Harms replied.

The judge accepted the plea because Mr. Harms didn't deny the fight, although he couldn't recall what happened.

Mr. Harms, who had been free on $13,000 bond since November, was placed in the Scott County Jail until his May 12 sentencing.
Perhaps some of our legal eagles can explain this "Alfred" plea and what exactly went on here. How will this differ as far as sentencing compared to if he had been found guilty at trial?


At 4/15/2005 8:28 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Not being a legal person, I am stumped here.

Aren't our law enforcement personnel supposed to "remember" what happened and charge and convict persons who break the law? If not, then all law and order is surely doomed......

Please reply in terms that are easy for us regular folks to understand.

If memory serves, Denny Jacobs got a law passed in Illinois to stop this ploy in the IL courts after some looser got off on a rape conviction. Maybe Scott County and the good folks of Iowa need to contact Denny to see how it's done?

And further - where was this in our great local newspapers? It should have been front page news!!


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