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Man to spend 182 days in prison on lewdness plea

David Edward Mercer was sentenced Friday to 182 days in jail and must pay a $1,000 fine for his crimes related to sexually abusing a minor.

An amended complaint filed in May of this year modified the charges to open or gross lewdness, a gross misdemeanor, where Mercer and defense Attorney Nathan Gent entered into a guilty plea agreement with the state.

Prosecutor Patrick Ferguson called the agreement the “gold standard of negotiations,” as the deal was negotiated to prevent the victim from reliving the experience as she did at the preliminary hearing two years ago.

Mercer was arraigned in February of 2013, where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault with a child under the age of 14, both category “A” felonies.

Gent said his client has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal.

“Mr. Mercer seems to be maintaining his innocence and that flies in the face of his guilty plea at this point,” Ferguson said. “To my recollection he did not make a nolo contendere or an Alfred plea. It was a guilty plea where he admitted his conduct. This is the gold standard of negotiations, on a case of this nature. In all candor, we put the interest of the victim over the interests of justice. He got a heck of a deal.”

Additionally, Ferguson asked Wanker to give the maximum sentence, which would require Mercer to serve 182 days in jail and pay the $1,000 fine.

“It’s the maximum punishment that this court can possibly give him, which is laughable in the context of what he did,” Ferguson said. “I don’t want to put any sort of stamp of approval on this conduct and the best that we can do right now is max amount and it just pales in comparison to what he really should get. Your honor, I am asking for 182 days plus the maximum fine.”

Wanker, when issuing her decision, sided with Ferguson’s argument that Mercer should face jail time for his actions.

“I think Mr. Ferguson is right because the defendant did enter a plea of guilty,” she said. “By requiring you to spend 182 days in jail, I can put you on probation for a period of 18 months, which is basically the maximum sentence I can impose. At this time, that’s going to be the order of the court.”

Mercer was subsequently handcuffed and escorted away to begin serving his time.

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