Melchor Sergio Diaz, 20, pleaded no contest Friday morning to a felony count of battery on a police officer and will spend up to nine months in county jail. Diaz was arrested March 5 after a house party was broken up by Lodi Police officers.
Diaz will receive three years of probation after his release as part of his plea deal. While the plea comes with a felony conviction, it will not count as a strike against Diaz.
Hardeep Madhara, 23, who was arrested along with Diaz, was also in court Friday and is in the process of considering a plea deal of his own. Madhara will return to court May 11 to either accept a plea deal for a prison term or begin his preliminary hearing.
When police arrived at the house party on the 800 block of South Sacramento Street and told the crowd to disperse, Diaz and Madhara allegedly become confrontational. Diaz appeared intoxicated and verbally disputed with police before punching an officer. After a brief scuffle, he was subdued by several officers.
Madhara allegedly threw a full beer can at an officer's face the evening of the party. The officer sustained a deep laceration requiring stitches. Madhara was Tased by officers before being detained.
Diaz's defense attorney, Gregory Davenport, said he was in favor of the deal because it prevented his client from serving a prison sentence.
"He'll do his time in county and he already has 57 days of credit towards his sentence," he said. "And it won't count as a strike against him."
Madhara's situation remains to be determined. His charge of assault against a peace officer carries a minimum three-year sentence in prison. His May court date will include a decision on whether to accept a plea bargain or take his case to trial. Since Madhara is on parole related to a previous offense, he is not eligible for bail.
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@ lodinews.com.