Reputed white supremacist allowed to withdraw pleas

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A reputed white supremacist who was sentenced to more than 50 years in prison after admitting he tried to kill an African-American man and shot at deputies will be allowed to withdraw his no-contest pleas. Brian Tobias, 29, will remain imprisoned on a 34-year sentence for his conviction of 10 other offenses but he can withdraw his pleas to the most serious offenses because a prosecutor incorrectly stated that his pleas would not interfere with his right to appeal, an appellate court ruled. “When you plead guilty and enter into a plea bargain, you cannot raise on appeal most of the issues you could have raised if you had pleaded not guilty and been convicted by a jury,” said Tobias’ appellate attorney, Jonathan Milberg. “If the prosecutor or judge tells you during a plea bargain negotiation that as part of the plea you can appeal, then what you have, they refer to it in case law as illusory promise. He thinks he can plead and take advantage of a plea bargain, which involves a reduction of time, and still raise all issues on appeal. Since he was misled or may have been misled, the Court of Appeal is giving him this option.” The three-judge appellate court panel also reversed the false imprisonment conviction involving Tobias’ girlfriend, who he held hostage during a car chase the day after the African-American man was wounded. Tobias received eight months for the false imprisonment count. Tobias was sentenced in July 2004 to 34 years and eight months in prison after being convicted by a jury of kidnapping, false imprisonment, felony evading, six counts of exhibiting a firearm to a peace officer and shooting at an inhabited vehicle in connection with the July 3, 2003, chase. Jurors deadlocked 11-1 in favor of guilty on two counts of attempted murder on a peace officer. Still awaiting trial in the drive-by July 2, 2003, shooting of the African-American man in Lancaster, Tobias was brought back to court the next year and pleaded no contest to attempted murder, and to two counts of assault with a firearm on a peace officer for the chase. For those offenses, Tobias was sentenced to an additional 16 years and eight months in prison. In the drive-by shooting, Tobias was the driver and his passenger, Michael Kelly, was the shooter, officials said. Kelly is serving an eight-year prison sentence. Prosecutors said Tobias set off the chase the next day when a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull him over in a stolen 1984 Honda. Deputies captured Tobias and freed a woman passenger unharmed when the chase ended in the desert in Lake Los Angeles. Authorities said Tobias dragged the woman out of the car by her hair and used her as a human shield while putting a gun to her head. Officials with the state Attorney General’s Office said they were disappointed with the ruling from the Second District Court of Appeal. “At this point we are reviewing our options and we will be conferring with the District Attorney as well,” spokesman Nathan Barankin said. The appellate justices said they reversed the false-imprisonment conviction because the offense was included in the kidnapping of which Tobias was also convicted. State prosecutors argued Tobias committed one kidnapping of the woman during the pursuit and a second kidnapping when he pulled her from the Honda, held her at gunpoint, forcibly moved her and used her as a human shield. “The arbitrary division of the incident into two offenses is not supported by the evidence,” the ruling said. [email protected] (661) 267-5744 last_img read more