Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Convicted strangler gets chance at rehab

Withheld judgment revoked in earlier sex-related case


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

A Blaine County man has been given a chance for rehabilitation following his conviction for attempted strangulation and a probation violation in an earlier sex-related case.

In court hearings this week and last week, Joshua C. Jones was ordered to spend 180 days on retained jurisdiction, a sentencing option that allows convicted felons to mend their ways in lieu of serving a prison term. Retained jurisdiction sentences are normally served at the North Idaho Correctional Facility in Cottonwood.

Jones, 21, appeared in Blaine County 5th District Court on Monday, Nov. 23, on the attempted strangulation conviction and on Monday, Nov. 30, on an earlier video voyeurism case. Judge Robert J. Elgee imposed the retained jurisdiction sentence in both cases but ordered that Jones be allowed to serve them concurrently.

Jones was arrested on the attempted strangulation charge in July for choking his former girlfriend at his home in Bellevue. He pleaded guilty to the felony charge in October in a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, which agreed to have misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment and intentional destruction of telecommunications equipment dismissed.

The earlier video voyeurism case dates back to 2007 when Jones and two other men at his apartment in Hailey recorded cell phone video images of a 13-year-old girl stripping and dancing nude for them. After pleading guilty in that case in 2008, Jones was placed on three years probation and given a withheld judgment, a court procedure whereby a conviction can be removed from someone's record upon successful completion of probation.

At Monday's court hearing, Judge Elgee revoked the withheld judgment ruling. He also imposed a suspended five-year prison sentence that can be reinstated if rehabilitation fails.

Jones was given a suspended eight-year prison sentence in the attempted strangulation case, a sentence that can also be reinstated at the discretion of the court.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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