Updated August 14, 2019 - 1:27 pm
The ex-boyfriend of a suspended Las Vegas defense attorney was sentenced Wednesday to up to eight years in prison for drug and weapons possession offenses.
Andrew Arevalo, 28, told District Judge Jacqueline Bluth that he was committed to turning his life around and keeping young people from making the same mistakes.
“I’m not the same man I was then,” Arevalo said, referring to a criminal history that includes convictions for battery, burglary and attempted murder. “My history does not have to be my future.”
Arevalo first entered headlines with a 2014 lawsuit against the Nevada Department of Corrections after he was injured in a shooting that left another inmate dead. Arevalo was blinded in one eye when he was struck by buckshot fired by a prison guard.
He began dating his attorney, Alexis Plunkett, who in March pleaded guilty to a felony for allowing clients to use cellphones in jail.
Plunkett has said she was in a relationship with Arevalo, who also faces charges relating to phone use, and that she used the cellphone to make calls regarding bail, which she believed she was authorized to do.
In January, after the couple split, a judge refused to send Plunkett to jail for an obscenity-laced group message to friends from law school claiming that she had arranged to have Arevalo killed in prison.
Arevalo completed the Hope for Prisoners program last year. At his graduation, he said he planned to return to Narcotics Anonymous, attend a paralegal program at UNLV and turn his life around. He was taken into custody again afterward when he tested positive for methamphetamine, violating the conditions of his house arrest.
“Your honor, there’s nobody who is more suited to the term ‘habitual criminal’ than Mr. Arevalo,” said Deputy District Attorney Binu Palal, who argued in favor of adding an enhancement to Arevalo’s charges that would extend his sentence.
Defense attorney Dan Gilliam argued that Arevalo had struggled with addiction and gang involvement since he was 15. He asked Bluth to grant Arevalo probation so he could continue working toward improving his life.
In court on Wednesday, Arevalo credited his sponsor in the narcotics program and his mentor from Hope For Prisoners for the positive change in his life, and said that he was better equipped to prevent another relapse.
Arevalo will be sentenced Thursday morning for 12 counts of being an inmate in possession of a cellphone.