The legal trials of former Associated Students President Cervin Morris continue, as Wednesday’s decision by Judge George Eskin postponed the date for Morris’ probation violation hearing until later this month.
Morris, who received probation on May 8, 2003, for driving under the influence of alcohol, violated the probation sentence when he was arrested on Nov. 12, 2004, on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of battery. Morris’ attorney Pat Harris said he and Senior Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer asked Eskin to postpone Morris’ sentencing hearing and a pre-trial conference until Jan. 25 because Judge Clifford Anderson, who usually hears Morris’ case, was not able to preside over yesterday’s hearing.
“Basically, we put it off because the judge that’s been working on the case is going to do the arrangements for [Morris’] sentence,” Harris said.
Anderson will determine the severity of Morris’ probation violation sentence at the upcoming hearing, Dozer said.
“Currently, the defendant has previously been found in violation of his parole based on the new felony charge,” Dozer said. “That being said, the court can [sentence Morris to] anything from no time to up to six months in custody. I don’t have a feeling at this time as to what it will do.”
Dozer said he thinks the probation violation issue could be resolved at the next hearing, and said he believes Morris might try to make a plea deal with the court.
“My expectation is that at the next time we appear in court, Mr. Morris will plea in court and, at that time, we’ll have a better sense of what the sentencing will be like,” Dozer said.
The preliminary hearing on the felony charge against Morris has been postponed at least four times since his arraignment on Jan. 4, 2005. Dozer said Anderson’s schedule caused the hearing to be postponed once before when the judge was on vacation and could not hear the case. He said he thinks the judge could not attend yesterday’s probation violation hearing because he was at a conference.
Dozer said he would like to see Morris’ case resolved without further setbacks, but he is confident that the prosecution’s case is still strong, despite the delays.
“My personal preference is to get cases moving,” Dozer said. “It’s been difficult for a number of reasons. That being said, it doesn’t diminish the quality of the case and the people’s position on the case regarding the defendant’s guilt.”
The felony assault and misdemeanor battery charges against Morris, a fourth-year English major, stem from an incident in which he allegedly hit a man on the head with a glass bottle and punched another man in the face last year. Morris pled not guilty to all charges, and the case has yet to go to trial.