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Man takes plea deal in assault on Lodi officer

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Hardeep Madhara

Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 1:41 pm | Updated: 7:16 am, Thu Jun 30, 2011.

A 23-year-old man who injured a Lodi police officer will spend the next six years in state prison. Hardeep Madhara, who threw a full beer can at the face of a police officer in March, plead no contest to assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer Friday in Lodi Superior Court. Friday was Madhara's last day to accept a plea deal before a criminal trial began. Madhara received his second strike with the plea.

"My client wants to state he was grossly intoxicated that night and regrets the incident," defense attorney Doug Goss said prior to the plea being accepted.

Madhara has been in custody since he was arrested after a house party March 4. As officers were vacating people from a house on the 800 block of South Sacramento Street, Madhara threw a full can of Budweiser at an officer from about 15 feet away.

The container struck the officer's chin.

Madhara scuffled with officers and was Tased before being subdued. The officer he injured required several stitches for his cut.

Although prosecutors and defense attorneys expected Friday's session to be brief, the proceedings featured multiple recesses and lasted more than 30 minutes. The public defender and district attorney believed they had agreed on a plea deal and were set to finalize it, but Madhara said he was unclear about one stipulation. In a tense exchange between Madhara and his attorney, the defendant said he was never informed the plea deal would effectively double his sentence.

Madhara's sentence was doubled because of a previous felony conviction for a residential burglary in 2006.

"You never said that, Goss," Madhara said, shaking his head.

Goss maintained that his client had been clearly informed about the charges against him and the possible sentences in the time leading up to Friday.

"(Madhara's) position is that I failed to communicate," Goss said to San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Lauren P. Thomasson before a brief recess. "My memory is that I did."

Goss has represented Madhara at multiple court appearances since March.

Madhara continued to make comments about the situation, prompting a stern reply from his attorney.

"If you don't want to take the deal, then we'll go to a preliminary hearing," Goss said.

There was a moment of silence before Thomasson granted a recess and left the courtroom. Madhara was taken into a private room to discuss the matter with his attorney.

San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Rich Green and Goss met with Thomasson privately in her chambers before returning and continuing the proceedings. Madhara ultimately accepted the deal and will be taken into custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the coming days to begin serving his sentence.

Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

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