Pubdate: Thu, 16 Oct 2014
Source: Austin American-Statesman (TX)
Copyright: 2014 Austin American-Statesman
Note: Letters MUST be 150 words or less
Author: Claire Osborn
Page: B1


Man Who Had Faced Possible Life Sentence Takes 7 Years Probation.

GEORGETOWN - A man whose case made national news when he was facing 
up to life in prison for possessing pot brownies in Williamson County 
has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Jacob Lavoro, 20, pleaded guilty Wednesday to the second-degree 
felony of possession of tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, 
said his lawyer, Jack Holmes. Lavoro agreed to the plea in exchange 
for a sentence of seven years' probation, Holmes said.

"It was his choice," Holmes said.

Holmes had made a motion to suppress evidence in the case against 
Lavoro, saying that Round Rock police officers searched Lavoro's 
apartment in April without a warrant, but a hearing had not been held 
on the motion.

"The chances of winning the motion to suppress were probably 50-50, 
and he knew that," said Holmes. Lavoro also knew if the motion was 
lost, he could face a more severe sentence, Holmes said.

A second-degree felony carries a punishment ranging from two to 20 
years in jail. Prosecutors dropped a state jail felony charge for 
possession of marijuana when they offered the plea deal, Holmes said.

Prosecutors in August dropped a first-degree felony drug possession 
charge against Lavoro that involved the marijuana brownies. The 
charge was controversial, as it was based on the entire weight of the 
brownies, including the chocolate, flour and sugar.

Texas law allows authorities to charge someone for the full weight of 
a drug mixture, even if it is diluted with other ingredients.

Holmes said Lavoro had no comment Wednesday afternoon because he was 
in jail. He has been in custody in the Williamson County Jail since 
Sept. 21, according to court records.

Lavoro was driving someone else's car when he was involved in a 
traffic wreck Sept. 9 in Travis County, according to his attorney and 
jail records. Police found a pipe with marijuana residue in the car 
but the pipe did not belong to Lavoro, Holmes said.

Williamson County prosecutors made a motion to re-arrest Lavoro 
because he was cited for possession of paraphernalia, according to 
court documents.

He was being released Wednesday night, Holmes said.

Sentencing for Lavoro won't be final until Nov. 13, said Williamson 
County First Assistant District Attorney Mark Brunner, who said seven 
years on probation was a fair sentence.

"I wish him success on probation," Brunner said. He said prosecutors 
had offered Lavoro 10 years on probation when he was first charged.
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