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Suspect in deputy’s shooting seeks to withdraw plea

February 5, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man wants to withdraw a guilty plea to federal firearm and drug charges related to the 2016 shooting of a Louisiana law officer.

Lawyers for Jarvis Hardy said recent changes in federal sentencing laws prompted their motion Monday to withdraw the plea entered last August.

In his plea deal, Hardy pleaded guilty to serious charges. But an attempted murder charge in the shooting of federal task force member Stephen Arnold was dropped, along with a drug-related firearms charge. Hardy’s motion says he accepted the deal and a likely 35-year sentence because it appeared he faced a minimum 45-year sentence if convicted as charged.

But they said the Federal First Step Act made clear that, because he had no prior convictions, he would not face a 45-year minimum sentence.

Arnold, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy working with federal agents, was shot and severely wounded during a raid on Hardy’s home.

According to the motion, Hardy 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.

The motion acknowledges that while withdrawal of the plea could eventually result in his getting less than 35 years, there are also risks.

“He is aware that it is entirely possible that if he is convicted after a trial on the merits he would be facing a sentence much greater than set forth within the guilty plea he seeks to withdraw, including a sentence of up to life imprisonment,” Hardy’s motion states.

Prosecutors had not filed a response as of Tuesday afternoon. A hearing has been set for Feb. 14.

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