Mike Whitehead made an Alford plea of “no-contest” to felony charges of attempted sexual assault in Nevada State court today and could face between two and 20 years in State prison at his January 19 sentencing. The minimum jail term for the “category b” offence is 2 years, which could mean Whitehead may get out after a year and change on good behavior. This may not seem like a positive for a man facing jail time, but considering he was originally arrested on charges of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, open and gross lewdness and also faced possible drug charges involving 40 marijuana plants found growing in his home, “Iron Mike” is likely counting his blessings that State prosecutors accepted his lawyer’s plea deal for the lesser charge.
For those not familiar with what an Alford plea is, there was another high profile case recently that cast a light on the procedure.
The West Memphis Three entered a similar plea, which basically is like saying, “I am not admitting guilt, however given the facts or testimony against me, I don’t believe I can win this case,” before entering a plea of “no contest” to the charges last month to charges that they murdered a trio of boys back in 1993 when the accused were teenagers and were released minutes later after having served 17 years in prison for crimes they have maintained they did not commit. The case was based solely on circumstantial evidence and testimony.The term was coined for a 1970 plea by Henry Alford who was on trial for murder at the time and was facing the death penalty. The rationale behind the plea is to save the court the time and hassle of a lengthy court case and to hopefully receive a lesser punishment as a result, while allowing the accused to maintain his or her innocence.
Under Whitehead’s negotiated agreement, the state will make no recommendation at the time of sentencing, providing he is not found through psycho-sexual testing to be a high-risk offender, in which case he will be eligible for probation. Whitehead’s weapons that were confiscated by Metro Police will also be forfeited.