Cliff Finch Agrees To Plea Deal for Shootout with Fresno Police

October 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The father of an Olympic snowboarder is now facing more than a decade in prison for shooting at Fresno police officers. Today, 60-year-old Clifford Finch dropped his insanity defense and accepted a plea deal. With the words "No contest", Finch now exposes himself to 14-years in prison. Finch changed his plea Tuesday morning with advice from his Defense Attorney Ralph Torres. Torres says, "He deserves probation. He does not deserve any jail time and that's where we are headed."

In September 2007, Finch armed himself and led police on a wild chase. It ended with Finch firing at officers and officers shooting the man leaving him wheelchair bound. His defense attorney claims Finch was insane at the time and suffers from post traumatic stress disordered.

Fresno's Police Chief Jerry Dyer supports Tuesday's plea deal despite two major charges being dropped. Dyer says, "I would like to see the courts sentence him to the maximum amount of time that is available for this crime. He did in fact fire at our officers."

Judge Rosendo Pena must now decide how to punish Finch for the crime of assault with a firearm. ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi tells us Judge Pena most likely will consider Finch's condition. Capozzi says, "He's wheelchair bound. He's paralyzed. I think society is protected. I think he's suffered in this particular incident."

Sentencing is scheduled for November 17. At that time, Finch and his defense attorney will lay out their case to the judge why the man should receive probation instead of prison time.



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