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Mendoza rejects plea agreement

Usually when a person accused of a crime appears in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, he is accompanied by his or her attorney.

But one such defendant who appeared before Judge D. Scott Bowling Wednesday had some extra assistance: his translator.

Isaac Mendoza, 24, of 1216 S. Fifth St., Rear, Ironton, does speak some English, but Spanish is his native language.

Bowling asked Symmes Valley High School Spanish teacher Ryan McKee to attend the pre-trial conference to make sure Mendoza understood what was happening and the court understood what Mendoza was saying. Mendoza is charged with felonious assault.

Mendoza waived his right to a jury trial and will instead have his case heard by Bowling Nov. 19.

“He has confidence in the fairness and objectivity of the judge, as we all do,” Mendoza’s attorney, David Reid Dillon, said.

McKee said while translating English to Spanish is nothing new for him, translating court proceedings is.

“I’ve translated (for people) but not in court,” McKee said. “I’ve translated on mission trips when I was in Peru. I’m willing to help out when I’m available.”

Since he teaches during the day, he will not be available during Mendoza’s trial.

Mendoza rejected a plea agreement from the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office. Assistant prosecutor Jeff Smith said in exchange for a guilty plea, Mendoza would get a four-year prison sentence.

In other matters Wednesday, Joey Carman, 24, of 60 County Road 15, South Point, admitted he violated the rules of his probation by failing to report to his probation officer on a regular basis. Bowling sentenced him to six months in prison but gave him credit for time served awaiting resolution of his case. Carman was placed on probation in 2003 after pleading guilty to a breaking and entering charge.

Kenneth Freeman, 60, of 1822 S. Eighth St., Ironton, admitted he violated his probation by failing to report to authorities as required. Bowling sentenced him to eight months in prison but gave him credit for time served in jail awaiting resolution of his case. Bowling denied a request for a brief furlough. Freeman was on probation for a drug conviction.

George Stanley, of 6028 County Road 15, South Point, admitted he, too, violated his probation Wednesday in common pleas court.

Bowling sentenced him to six months in prison but gave him credit for time served in jail awaiting conclusion of his case. Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson said Stanley had not reported to his probation officer since March 2005, tested positive for drug use and was keeping company with other know felons.

Stanley was on probation for a 2004 breaking and entering conviction.