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Former sheriff’s deputy spared jail time in domestic battery case

Royce Avena, a former deputy with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, was spared jail time in lieu of 85 hours of community service after Judge Ron Kent sentenced him on Wednesday.He will also pay more than $1,000 in fines and fees.

Avena was arrested late 2013 and charged with domestic battery, stalking and burglary. An additional charge of false imprisonment was dropped earlier on in the case.

Kent also issued a no-contact order unless a third party is present. The crimes were committed against his now ex-wife.

As a result, Avena cannot become a police officer again nor own a gun.

Kent appeared to display some sympathy to Avena who is the father of five boys. The former deputy could have received as much as 18 months in jail.

“Sometimes married couples eventually go different ways,” Kent said. “They have children but they can’t live together and they still have to take care of the kids. There’s many more years of active interaction between them just to get these kids through high school and off to college.”

Additionally, Kent said Avena was treated no differently than anyone else in the same circumstances.

“It was a betrayal of trust,” he said. “He was held to a higher standard and he betrayed that. He got what any first time offender would get, plus he got his jail sentence suspended on each case running consecutively. If he messes up, then he’s got 18 months in jail. Right now, he owns the keys to his jail cell.”

Kent also said he had no “wiggle room” in regards to Avena’s sentence.

He directly addressed the former deputy.

“The statute is very clear and the state’s burden was met,” he said. “It’s going to affect your livelihood and that won’t on the court and it’s not on the prosecution or the law enforcement agency who are required to bring this to court for the district attorney’s office. That’s on you sir, and I’m not going to take the weight in this. It’s your personal responsibility.”

Avena was arrested on Dec. 5, 2013, after police were dispatched to the victim’s residence regarding a physical altercation.

According to the arrest report, the victim told police that Avena arrived at her home and began banging on the front door.

When the victim refused to open the door, Avena allegedly forced the sliding glass door open and entered the home.

Upon gaining entry into the home, Avena confronted the victim about allegations of a personal nature while forcing her into the master bedroom.

In an attempt to escape, the victim struck Avena in the face, the report stated.

According to the sheriff’s office, the victim and Avena were living in separate residences and he was not on the lease agreement and did not have keys to the victim’s home.

The victim also maintains that Avena had previously forced his way into her home but she did not report it because she feared it would jeopardize Avena’s employment with the sheriff’s office.

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