Judge nullifies Riverside man’s plea deal in assault
RIVERSIDE — An 18-year-old man accused of pummeling his girlfriend and holding her against her will successfully argued Wednesday for a judge to nullify his plea deal with prosecutors, sparing him — at least for now — from a possible prison sentence.
Jose Camacho last month admitted one count each of domestic violence and false imprisonment with a sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegation under a plea agreement negotiated by his public defender, Justin Greenlee.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jack Lucky had certified the plea deal and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Wednesday. However, less than a week after he’d admitted culpability, Camacho challenged the agreement and sought to dismiss his public defender and instead hire a private attorney, Elon Berk.
Lucky considered the defendant’s motion and, with no objection from the prosecution, abrogated the plea deal and allowed for a substitution of counsel.
The judge scheduled a felony settlement conference for Nov. 15 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Camacho is being held in lieu of $90,000 bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
According to Riverside police, on Aug. 23, Camacho confronted the victim, whose identity was not released, at her residence in the 4300 block of Columbia Avenue, near American Drive.
The encounter allegedly turned violent, and the defendant “repeatedly assaulted” the woman, inflicting “traumatic injuries to her face,” according to a police department statement.
The victim tried to get away, but Camacho prevented her escape, investigators alleged.
He eventually left the home, and the woman went to the hospital for treatment, at which point police were notified, authorities said.
Officers were initially unsuccessful in locating the defendant, who was finally found and arrested without incident nearly two weeks later in east Riverside.
Camacho has no prior documented felony convictions.