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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Defendant to enter plea deal in drug case

  • It appears a man who once escaped from Leavenworth County Jail will enter into a plea deal in an unrelated drug case.
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  • It appears a man who once escaped from Leavenworth County Jail will enter into a plea deal in an unrelated drug case.
    Raheem K. Armstead, 31, was convicted in 2012 in Leavenworth County District Court of possession of methamphetamine, obstruction of an official duty and driving without a valid license.
    But, those convictions were overturned earlier this year by the Kansas Court of Appeals, and the case was remanded to District Court for a new trial.
    Armstead's convictions in the 2012 drug case stemmed from a Dec. 27, 2011, incident in which Armstead allegedly abandoned a car and ran from Leavenworth police.
    Inside the vehicle, police reportedly found methamphetamine, according to court documents.
    Armstead was sentenced to nearly three years in prison after he was convicted in the case.
    He appeared Wednesday in District Court. His attorney, Michael Willcott, said a plea agreement had been reached in the drug case, but there was a problem with a written agreement that had been prepared.
    "There's some language that needs to be added to it," Willcott said.
    He said Assistant County Attorney Adam Zentner, who has been prosecuting the case, is not in the office this week. But, he will return next week.
    The plea hearing was rescheduled for Aug. 6.
    Conditions of the plea agreement were not discussed in court.
    Armstead is serving prison sentences with the Kansas Department of Corrections for other cases, including an escape charge.
    He was transferred to the custody of the Leavenworth County Jail for recent court appearances. Officials from the jail said they will try to arrange to keep him in their custody until after next week's scheduled court appearance.
    The 2012 convictions in the drug case came several months before Armstead escaped from custody at Leavenworth County Jail.
    On Dec. 29, 2012, Armstead ran from the jail grounds as he and other trusties were escorted outside to dispose of trash. He was apprehended a few days later at a residence in Leavenworth. He later pleaded guilty to aggravated escape from custody and was sentenced to 19 months in prison for that charge.
    A fence has since been erected around the area where Armstead made his escape.
    Judges from the Kansas Court of Appeals reversed the convictions in the 2012 drug case because they found the district court judge made a mistake in allowing the prosecution to introduce evidence of prior convictions.
    "We conclude the District Court erred in admitting evidence of Armstead's prior convictions to impeach his credibility and, as a result, we reverse the convictions and remand the case for a new trial," Appeals Court Judge Michael Buser wrote in the March 21 decision.
    Page 2 of 2 - Armstead testified during the 2012 trial, and the prosecutor asked the judge to allow evidence of prior convictions for crimes that showed an element of deceit.
    The judge allowed evidence of two prior convictions, according to the Court of Appeals decision.
    Kansas law allows the prosecution to present evidence of prior convictions if a defendant already has introduced evidence to support his credibility as a witness. But, the appellate judges found that a defendant doesn't place his credibility at issue "by merely taking the witness stand," Buser wrote.

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