Mecklenburg judges reject plea agreements

By Sharon Smith - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Two judges in Mecklenburg County recently rejected plea arrangements offered by attorneys because they wanted the defendants to serve more active time in prison.

It's an unusual move. Most judges accept plea offers, knowing the attorneys have spent months working out the give-and-take, based on evidence.

The first case deals with Ernest Nichols, a former CMS teacher who is accused of statutory rape involving a 15-year-old girl. The victim was the girlfriend of Nichols's son. Court records show Nichols videotaped the sex.

Nichols could have faced life in prison, but he agreed to a plea deal that gave him up to 15 years in prison. Judge Yvonne Mims Evans rejected the deal, saying Nichols deserved a tougher sentence.

The next case involves Travis Jamar White, accused of possession and distribution of cocaine. White was ready to agree to a plea deal giving him 36 months probation with credit for time served.

Judge Eric Levinson rejected the deal, telling both attorneys to go back and craft a deal with more active prison time. Levinson eventually agreed to a plea offer that required five months incarceration with 36 months probation.

While White's case was resolved with a new plea deal crafted that same day, Nichols's case is still pending.

It's possible the case could be heard before a different judge, the prosecutor could offer a new plea arrangement, or the case could head to trial.

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