Just last week, we discussed how a plea deal can affect a criminal justice case. A recent case in the news shows how a plea deal can spare some defendants from having to serve time in jail. In the case of a former Chestertown councilwoman, a binding plea deal on felony theft charges kept her from having to serve time in prison.
The almost 83-year-old woman was facing the theft charge as a result of money that was taken while she was the treasurer of the Eastern Shore Association of Municipalities. During her 5-year volunteer term with the ESAM, she was an authorized check signer for the association's PNC bank account. She wrote around 84 checks during that time to "cash" and to herself that were unauthorized. The funds taken with those checks were placed into her account and used to pay for her own expenses.
As part of the plea deal, the woman had to make restitution in the amount of $44,900. Assistant State Prosecutor Katherine Anthony noted that the restitution had been made in the form of a cashier's check.
As part of the plea bargain, the woman must serve 3 years of unsupervised probation, obey all laws and pay $145 in court costs. Her sentence included a 5-year suspended prison sentence. She faced up to 15 years in prison for the single count of theft of more than $10,000 but less than $100,000.
As you can see, the plea deal saved her from having to spend time in prison. It did have some conditions attached to it. Some defendants facing theft charges might be able to work out a plea deal of some sort.
Source: My Eastern Shore MD, "Mumford-Pautz pleads guilty to felony theft," Trish McGee, May. 27, 2015