Former Arroyo Grande City Councilman Ed Arnold entered a plea agreement Wednesday of no contest to criminal charges of burglary and possession of child pornography in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Arnold, 46, was accused of seven crimes, five of which are expected to be dismissed as part of the agreement.
A no-contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt.
Under the plea conditions, Arnold is agreeing to a strike on his criminal record and lifetime registration as a sex offender, according to prosecutors.
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Judge Barry LaBarbera’s referral to the county Probation Department recommends a County Jail sentence of up to 180 days. Prosecutor Greg Devitt has argued in court for a two-year state prison term.
The Probation Department will make its recommendation for Arnold’s penalty before sentencing, scheduled for July 12.
But because of a gag order in the case, Arnold’s attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, and officials from the District Attorney’s Office said they couldn’t speak further about details of the case and how the agreement was reached.
Arnold was arrested in December 2009 on suspicion of beating a woman who had been romantically involved with him and his wife. He was suspected of hitting her with a metal club after burglarizing her property at the home she shared with them on the 800 block of Turquoise Drive in Arroyo Grande.
In court documents, the woman alleged that Arnold blamed her for the breakup of his marriage.
After an investigation of his computer, Arnold was also accused of possessing child pornography and using a minor for pornographic images. Investigators said they’d found pictures on a computer of underage naked girls and a video of a 16-year-old foreign-exchange student from Spain who was showering in his house.
The charges expected to be dismissed as part of the agreement are assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, threatening bodily harm, possession of an illegal assault weapon and videotaping a minor for pornographic purposes.
Arnold resigned from the Arroyo Grande City Council on April 27, 2010, saying his pending criminal charges were “a distraction” to his ability to serve effectively.
Breakdown of the charges
- Burglary: Pleaded no contest
- Assault with a deadly weapon: Dismissed
- Domestic violence: Dismissed
- Threatening bodily harm: Dismissed
- Possession of an assault weapon: Dismissed
- Possession of child porn: Pleaded no contest
- Videotaping a minor for pornographic purposes: Dismissed