“I’m sorry for the actions that happened in the past,” Bingham said.
Judges have the option to ignore plea agreements and hand down sentences within legal guidelines. Mertz followed the plea agreement when sentencing Bingham. She told the defendant that, even though he is avoiding prison for now, the probation guidelines as a sex offender would not be easy.
“That is the most difficult probation to complete,” Mertz said. She stressed to him that if he failed to complete the recommendations of the probation, he will spend 20 years in prison.
“Based on the agreement...I find that’s most appropriate for you,” Mertz said. “We don’t take these offenses lightly.”
Bingham must also avoid all contact without anyone under age 18, unless he receives written permission from his probation officer. Mertz encouraged him to occupy himself with a job or furthering his education, and not to remain idle.