Child molester and pornographer Thomas C. Dodds Jr., 41, was not allowed to withdraw his plea of no contest today after he was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison for the crimes.
Dodds, who complained loudly to deputies that his handcuffs were too tight today in court, had sought to withdraw his pleas, stating that Judge Darrell Shepard had improperly considered a 1993 case where Dodds had been convicted of child molestation, but the verdict was later vacated and the case expunged because Dodds had been improperly allowed to plead guilty as an adult.
“In pre-sentencing investigations, they can consider a person’s entire life,” Shepard said in rejecting Dodds’ assertions about the expunged case. “In any case, I gave very little consideration to it.”
Dodds had also said his previous attorney had not informed him of the possible consequences to pleading no contest.
“I thought the worst I could get was six years in,” he said from the stand. “I was really hoping for an all probationary sentence.”
Dodds’ current court-appointed attorney, Dan Medlock, said those hopes were inappropriate, because probation was not an option in 85 percent cases.
“I personally advised Mr. Dodds of the possible range of punishments,” Shepard said. “I told him I was not bound by any agreements and I could sentence him to anything within that range, up to the maximums. He is an intelligent person. I think it was a valid strategic decision to enter a blind plea instead of facing a jury.”
Shepard denied Dodds’ motions to withdraw his plea and remanded him to the custody of the state.