Second Thoughts About His Unique Deal

Second Thoughts About His Unique Deal

Now that he's back in jail and faces prison time, Joseph Dunn says he regrets accepting a specially arranged plea deal that caught the attention of many people last year.
"I failed," admitted Joseph Dunn, when asked why, once again, he sits behind bars at the Taylor County Jail.

Last year, Dunn was the poster child of a rare plea deal arranged by the Taylor County District Attorney's office, Judge John Wheeler and Dunn's attorney. He'd pleaded guilty to burglary charges, but in exchange of 8 years in prison, Dunn was offered a unique deal. The judge ordered him to serve 8 years on probation. The conditions of his probation included enrolling as a full-time student at an Abilene college, maintaining a 2.0 GPA and graduating with a bachelors degree by 2018. Dunn accepted the deal. Then, he stated, "I didn't deserve it but I'm glad it was given to me." He also promised to get his life back on track.

But Dunn hasn't kept that promise. He was arrested last Friday on a motion to revoke probation. According to court documents, over the course of his probation, Dunn failed several urinalysis tests, failed to pay fines and didn't maintain that required C- grade point average. He is now in jail on a $40,000 bond and could face prison time, again.

"I see it's time to wake up. I can't believe that I have a second child on the way and I could go to prison," says Dunn.

Not only is he realizing that his chances could be running out, but Dunn says he feels differently now about the deal that was given to him last year.

"I honestly didn't have the life skills to take this deal," he says. "It was a good deal but when I was released to the world, I had a whole lot of problems I didn't know I'd have."

But despite his change of heart regarding the deal, Dunn isn't blaming anyone besides himself for his failure to uphold his end of the bargain.

"I don't want to discourage this deal for anybody else," he says. "In fact, I'd like to encourage the judge to bless somebody else with this deal, somebody that can handle it, because it can really change someone's life."

Even though he didn't keep the promise he made last year, Dunn says he deserves another dose of mercy when he's scheduled to go before a judge on Thursday.

"If I would have gone out and robbed somebody, that's understandable. That's when you say 'okay now we should throw the book at him'. But that's not the case here," he says.

Dunn says that if he gets another chance, and isn't sent to prison, he plans on changing his life by first enrolling in a rehab facility-- and later, completing college.

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