Criminal justice professor breaks down Filner’s charges

Staff photo.

Staff photo.

by Elpin Keshishzadeh

Two weeks ago, San Diego’s former mayor Bob Filner pleaded guilty to felony of imprisonment and two misdemeanor battery charges in the San Diego County Superior Court.

Filner’s plea bargain was not part of a trial, Journalism and Media Studies lecturer Lanie Lockwood said. This hearing was not a “grand jury situation,” Lockwood clarified.

More than two months after Filner’s resignation, the charges in the plea bargain have created a lot of questions because of the counts and the potentially confusing legal jargon.

Garlin Driscoll Litigators defines felony of imprisonment as “confinement without another person’s consent, with or without the use of force or threat or force, and can occur irrespective of duration.”

According to Garlin Driscoll Litigators, false imprisonment cases differ in time varying from a few seconds to a few days, which can affect the severity of the punishment. The main difference between false imprisonment and kidnapping is that the detainees location is not changed.

Filner’s two misdemeanor battery charges come from touching an individual without consent as a result of force or sexual contact, according to Garlin Driscoll Litagators.

Given that his battery charges resulted from his kissing a woman and grabbing another woman’s buttocks, assistant criminal justice professor in the School of Public Affairs Joshua Chanin said  Filner’s charges could have been worse if he faced trial.

“The prosecutor has lots of discretion with what types of charges to file, and my sense is that given the nature of his conduct, the chances of charging him with sexual battery or some sort of sex-related offense was certainly a possibility and that would have required him, if found guilty, to register as a sex offender,” Chanin said.

The plea bargain made with the attorney general’s office does not give Filner time behind bars, according to the L.A. Times. Instead, the deal will place Filner in three months of house arrest, require him to undergo mental health evaluation and demand the majority of his mayoral pension. Additionally, during his probation he cannot vote, own a firearm or serve on a jury.

The house arrest agreements were made as a “way to keep him confined as a form of punishment,” Chanin said.

The plea bargain was reached with the agreement that Filner never seek or hold public office again.

“Filner traded a lot in exchange for a lower charge, and the prosecutor clearly wanted to avoid him running for office again,” Chanin said.

Staff photo.