A 46-year-old pharmacist received a 30-day sentence — with all of it suspended after pleading guilty to assault and battery Thursday.
Robert Anthony Harris of Rougemont, North Carolina allegedly resisted the Albemarle County Police officers trying to arrest him at a University of Virginia football game.
“You’re old enough to know better,” scolded judge Matthew J. Quatrara in accepting the plea, which was a reduction from the felony charge that Harris had been facing.
At UVa’s Oct. 29 home football game against the University of Miami, a group of adults were allegedly arguing after someone made a sexualized comment about someone’s daughter, according to Dean Dotts, an Albemarle County Police officer. Dotts alleged that a security official ejected Harris from the game but Harris wouldn’t leave, and so Albemarle police arrived to enforce the ejection.
“Mr. Harris grabbed Officer Morris by the vest and pulled,” Dotts wrote in his official report. “Mr. Harris continued to resist and not comply with commands from law enforcement. It took four to five officers to place Mr. Harris under arrest.”
Prosecutor Shannon Neal said that the officers agreed to the no-jail deal, which dismissed a disorderly conduct charge and spared Harris from the minimum six-month sentence that he might have faced with his original felony charge of assaulting an officer. Judge Quatrara expressed exasperation as he stared at the masked pharmacist, who noted in court papers that he earns $185,000 per year.
“Are you familiar with ‘C’mon Man’ on ESPN?” Quatrara asked.
“This is ‘c’mon man,’” said Quatrara. “Acting like this at age 46 or 47 years old at a UVa football game. You’re capable of better, and I hope you resolve to act better.”
For $86 in court costs, Harris went free, a similar outcome to that which prosecutor Neal negotiated less than a month ago with a New Jersey woman who allegedly bit an Albemarle officer in the upscale Farmington subdivision.
The court also saw a 20-year-old who allegedly violated a condition of her bail on recent charges.
Kiasia Ashae Bright was previously convicted for shoplifting, and she faces 17 charges on a variety of property crimes including forgery, identification theft and bad checks.
“She’s here today, and that’s a good thing,” said Tyler L. Sande, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney. Judge Quatrara noted that Bright’s attendance record for hearings has been imperfect.
“Right about the time she thinks she’s gonna get in trouble, she gets it together,” the judge remarked.
“This has been touch and go,” agreed Sande.
“It’s been more ‘go’ than ‘touch’,” said the judge, who then urged Bright to power up her phone to note some things in her calendar.
He then found her guilty of violating terms of her bail and revoked it. That meant she’d be jailed until Monday morning at 9 a.m., when she’d be released with plenty of time to attend a probation appointment the following day. Bright was led out of the General District Courtroom in handcuffs.
“I can’t have there not be consequences,” said the judge.
Lastly, a lawyer was punished.
Caroline Ayres is the attorney for a male UVa student who allegedly violated a protective order filed by a female UVa student, and who then avoided a criminal charge by agreeing in late May to abide by the original order.
Ayres had filed papers to arrange an order-modification hearing. However, she did not properly notify either the prosecutor or woman’s attorney, Judge Quatrara said.
Quatrara rejected any modification of the protective order and charged Ayres $300 to cover the hour she allegedly wasted of the woman’s lawyer’s time.
“I don’t do that lightly, Ms. Ayres,” said Quatrara. “Your lack of communication and assumptions were lacking in this case.”
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