Former Associated Students President Cervin Morris faces possible deportation this summer after pleading “no contest” to felony assault charges yesterday at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
Morris – a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago – was charged for felony assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of battery on Nov. 12, 2004, after he allegedly hit a man with a glass bottle and punched another man in the face. At the time of his arrest, Morris was on probation for driving under the influence of alcohol on May 8, 2003. Senior Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer said a sentencing hearing for Morris is scheduled for June 21.
Dozer said Morris and his attorney Pat Harris specifically picked the court date so that Morris could finish his Spring Quarter at UCSB. He said the misdemeanor battery charge was dropped at yesterday’s settlement hearing, but because Morris plead “no contest,” a judge will determine whether the charge will stay as a felony or be changed to a misdemeanor offense at the June hearing.
If Morris is convicted of a felony charge, the judge will send him to a federal court hearing, which could lead to possible deportation because of Morris’ status as a registered citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. However, Dozer said a prison sentence is unlikely for Morris considering that he has spent his time since the arrest as an upstanding contributor to society, citing not only his time as a student but also his service to the UCSB campus as A.S. President.
“A young man with a substantial record will not go to state prison,” Dozer said.
At the June 21 sentencing, Dozer said he suspects Morris’ lawyer will make the case that Morris has acted as a generally good citizen and kept up with his schoolwork since his November arrest.
Dozer said it was very important for Morris to plead “no contest” to the charges because it showed he acknowledges his crime and is willing to take responsibility for his actions.
“[The judge] is looking for the person to accept the fact that he did [the crime],” Dozer said. “I’m pleased.”