USC cornerback Shareece Wright had the charge of resisting a police officer against him reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor Thursday in San Bernardino County Superior Court.
In a decision that eliminated the possibility that Wright would spend time in state prison, Judge Douglas N. Gericke ruled the player's actions at a friend's party in Colton in September were "less violent to a significant degree," than how a felony is described.
The charges facing Wright and two others stem from an incident that took place at a going-away party for a friend bound for military service. Police who were called to the scene alleged Wright, 21, refused to leave when ordered from the home. Wright said he was asked to stay by the host of the party.
Co-defendant Daniel Lozano, of Sacramento, similarly had the charge against him reduced, but his father, co-defendant Salvador Naza, also of Sacramento, still faces a felony count for allegedly fighting with one of the five Colton police officers who responded to a call to the residence.
Wright could still face time in county jail, but his attorney, Carlos Juarez, said he was "very optimistic" the player would ultimately agree to a plea bargain that would be limited to a fine or community service or both. The case resumes April 9, and Wright is not obligated to attend another hearing until a plea deal or trial occurs, his attorney said.
"I'm willing to do something," Wright said outside court. "I know I could've handled the situation better than I did. I put myself in that situation, exchanging words with the cops. I wasn't completely innocent."
He added, "It's a blessing to get it down to a misdemeanor. [USC] Coach [Pete] Carroll will be happy to hear I don't have to miss school anymore. It's been an awful experience, but now I'm as confident as my lawyer is."