Jason West's Sentencing Postponed

November 7, 2008 10:38:42 PM PST
Jason West has already accepted a plea deal to serve nearly six years. The question now is whether he'll spend that time in a state rehab center or in prison. West's sentencing was postponed today...

Jason West smiled at his family as he walked into court. But moments later he fought back tears while waiting for a sentence that never came ... two very different emotions from a man with two very different sides.

Defense Attorney William Davis said, "This is a guy that throughout much of his teenage years and early 20's banged around the system despite the fact of always being someone who had significant potential."

Court documents show West has a long criminal history that includes burglary, assault, and drug charges. But Defense Attorney William Davis says west served time in a state rehabilitation center and had stayed out of trouble for seven years before family turmoil led him to relapse this summer. That's when the graduate student began stealing supplies from U.C. Merced to make methamphetamines. But Davis presented the court with a list of west's recent achievements, from helping form the university's chemistry club to having patents pending for new molecules. He also submitted a thank you note from a school where west performed a science show...and a letter from his 13 year old son that portrays West as a dedicated father.

Davis said, "He's someone that has already contributed to society and will be a benefit to society in the future, and what he really needs to do is get a handle on his addiction."

That's why Davis says West should go to a state rehab center for the five years and eight months he accepted in a plea deal. But prosecutors want west to serve the sentence in prison. Deputy District Attorney Steven Slocum argues the 37 year old violated the public's trust by stealing...and put the community at risk by making meth.

Slocum said, "There was no indication that he was manufacturing a small amount for his own personal use, but rather that he was going to manufacture a pound according to his own statements."

A judge is set to decide West's fate December 5th.

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