UPDATE (07/01/10): Fulbright has a new lawyer. Her sentencing date has not yet been set (because she’s scheduled to testify at the October trial of a co-defendant, after which she’ll be sentenced).
UPDATE (11/11/10): Here’s a report on how testimony went.
Remember Kumari Fulbright? Of course — how could you forget her? The former beauty queen had her legal studies at the University of Arizona derailed after being accused of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and aggravated assault.
It appears that Fulbright’s criminal case is reaching a resolution. The Arizona Daily Star reports:
A former beauty queen and UA law school student accused of orchestrating the kidnapping of her former boyfriend will spend the next two years in prison.
Kumari Fulbright, 27, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and aggravated assault Tuesday in Pima County Superior Court.
Fulbright agreed to serve two years in prison for the assault charge and she will have to serve a term of probation on the kidnapping charge once she’s released.
Despite having studied law, as well as having interned for a federal judge, Kumari Fulbright didn’t seem to know how a plea hearing is supposed to work.
Guilty pleas must be knowing and voluntary. Fulbright seemed to waffle on this (perhaps because she has yet to accept her own criminality):
Fulbright immediately caused consternation when she indicated she was reluctant to say the plea agreement “was in her best interest” and when she said she “absolutely” did not agree with her attorney’s description of the crime.
Defense attorney Steve Weiss told Judge Richard Nichols Fulbright conspired with others to restrain her former boyfriend in December 2007 and while he was restrained Fulbright brandished a knife near his ear and threatened to cut it.
Each time Nichols asked Fulbright if she committed a particular act, she refused to answer directly.
Instead of saying “Yes” or “No,” Fulbright replied such things as “I agree I’m pleading guilty” or “I am guilty” or “The evidence shows that.”
At the end of the day, though, Fulbright finally went along:
Eventually, Fulbright said, “OK, yes” when asked if she conspired to have the man restrained, she brandished the knife and she threatened him with it.
Fulbright was taken into custody after the hearing. The orange jumpsuit will match her complexion (see right).
Pursuant to the plea agreement, Kumari will serve two years in prison. She also still has a year and a half of law school to finish, since this “Fulbright scholar” was in the middle of her 2L year when she was suspended.
Prison could be a smart move for Fulbright. The legal job market might have recovered by the time she emerges from the big house and finishes law school. Career alternatives: convicted felon?
P.S. Yes, we recognize that Kumari Fulbright may face some “character and fitness” issues as a result of her conviction. But even sex offenders and coke fiends have been admitted to the bar. It’s not like she racked up $400,000 in student loans or anything; now that might be a problem.
Former beauty queen and UA law student headed to prison [Arizona Daily Star]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Kumari Fulbright (scroll down)