The man accused of trying to run over an HPD officer near Pearlridge, was out on probation at the time.
Troy Salas was arrested Wednesday afternoon for first degree attempted murder. On Dec. 13, 2019 Salas was charged with Terroristic Threatening, bail was set at $50,000.
Salas had been out on a deferred no contest plea, which a judge granted in August with the condition that Salas stay out of trouble for four years. And if he had, the judge would have essentially dismissed the case.
HPD says two men were in a car when they were stopped by an officer for speeding around 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, and the driver tried hit the officer with the car. The officer shot at the car while the suspects drove off.
Police arrested 23-year-old Troy Salas later that day for first degree attempted murder. Court records show that a judge had given Salas a deferred no contest plea for stealing a car.
Former judge and prosecutor Steve Alm says the judge did the right thing.
“Having a deferral, not having a conviction on your record is gonna make it easier to get a job, it’s gonna be easier to get a student loan, and we want people to succeed. Most people will succeed, given that circumstance,” said Alm.
He says judges are willing to give a deferred plea to those who are not repeat offenders or have a history of violence. Salas’ record shows a conviction for driving without a license, a petty misdemeanor. The car theft earlier this year is a felony.
“This is a felony, why should he get off that easy?” KHON2 asked.
“Because there are lots of felonies committed every year. The only way to do it the other way is to send everybody to prison, and of course when they’re in prison, they’re sitting around talking about getting high, breaking into your house and mine,” said Alm.
He says judges have to weigh a lot of factors before granting a deferred plea. The idea is to give someone a second chance if the judge believes it’s warranted.
“The best predictor of future behavior is past and current behavior, so if people don’t have a record like that and it comes up then maybe that’s the best path to go. If they have a history of doing bad things they should be in prison,” said Alm.
He adds that judges only allow one deferral for every defendant. They’re usually drug tested and have to check in with their probation officer.