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The War on Drugs - and the results of it A war against drugs, or against families?

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  #1  
Old 11-28-2004, 02:40 PM
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Good day, all!
Keep the faith! Stay focused.
how many of you had a loved one talked into a plea bargain? Usually under threat of being "buried in prison", like our son. Please specify FED or STATE, and let me know a little bit about the background if you don't mind. I'm getting ready to try and talk a really great professor into doing a presentation on plea bargains in the federal system to put in front of the us sentencing commission.
thank you!
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Old 11-28-2004, 02:58 PM
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bluemama, My son took a plea on a drug charge. He was a first time non violent offender. he was 30 years old at the time of his arrest and had never even had so much as a drving charge. He was told by his court appointed lawyer that if he didnt plea he would be found guilt and sentenced to maybe 30 years, so he felt he had no choice. He bargained for a 15 years sentence 5 to be served and 10 years probation. His lawyer first told him that it could be thrown out of court because of illegal search and sezure but then changed to he would be found guilty if he went to court. We had no money for a new lawyer so he signed a plea. We are all at the mercy of a corrupt system.
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Old 11-28-2004, 03:03 PM
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State----Was told by the judge take the 5 do 2 or come before me in the courtroom and you'll do 10!--I can PM you some details later if you would like.
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Old 11-28-2004, 03:21 PM
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please pm or email, as you're comfortable. i've probably talked to about 500 people (in visiting rooms, online, at court, etc.) and i can safely say that at least 90% of them did the same thing we all did - out of fear, and not understanding that a plea bargain is just the laziest way for an attorney, a prosecutor and a judge to clear the desk. you're right, it's corrupt, chris's mom
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Old 11-28-2004, 03:31 PM
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MY BOYFRIEND TOOK A PLEA FOR PWITD AND A GUN CHARGE. HE IS CLASSIFIED AS A NON VIOLENT 1ST TIME OFFENDER. HE DID NOT USE THE GUNS OR THREATEN ANYBODY WITH THEM BUT THEY WERE IN HIS HOUSE WHEN THEY RAIDED IT. TO THEM HE HAD GUNS TO PROTECT HIS DRUGS. HE GOT 87 MONTHS FED TIME. HIS LAWYER TOLD HIM TO TAKE IT BECAUSE IT WAS A GOOD DEAL. THE PROSECUTOR TOLD HIM IF HE TAKES IT TO TRIAL HE WOULD BURY HIM AND MAKE SURE HE GOT 25 YEARS. SO HE IS NOW DOING THE NEXT 3 1/2 YEARS IN A CAMP.
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Old 12-03-2004, 10:05 AM
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Federal. First-time offender, non-violent, no weapons.

My daughter was arrested with 4.970 kg. cocaine and charged with possession with intent to distribute. A motion in limine to suppress evidence (for illegal search and seizure) was denied. She was held in a small town jail (under federal contract) for five months and repeatedly pressured to take a plea and incriminate others. She refused to incriminate others, but her lawyer told her that the court had over a 90% conviction rate on drug charges and encouraged her to bargain. She took the plea on the understanding that they would reduce the charge three levels and recommend that she serve her sentence as close as possible to home. Her lawyer indicated that she would get a five-year sentence (guidelines for the new level offense was 57-72 months).

At the sentencing hearing (3 months after the guity plea) they had added 4 points for "relevant conduct", in particular for not cooperating. The parole officer who prepared the PSR alleged she had made numerous trips through the area based on car rental records (she went to visit her grandmother once a year; this was an "extra" trip when she supposedly was going for recreation). Based on that he had doubled the amount of cocaine, and the judge, without hearing her out, simply stated "I can't believe you didn't carry at least 30 grams of additional cocaine." He sentenced her to 132 months, and she has been serving that time 989 miles from home where we are unable to take our grandchild to visit her. She has applied monthly for a transfer, but it has not happened yet. Next chance will be mid-December.

The appeal had been scheduled in August, but was delayed because of the Blakely issue. There is still no word on Booker and Fanfan, but they heard the oral arguments in mid-November. Her lawyer has indicated that from the questions asked, he believes they will reverse the sentence and she will get a new sentencing hearing reducing the sentence by "at least four years." My own expectation is that they will reduce it by five (back to the guideline level that was 57-72 months). We hope she'll be "eligible" for a camp within 500 miles of home so we can visit with her baby more often.

Neither her lawyer nor I expect the denial of the motion in limine to be reversed.
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Old 12-03-2004, 10:34 AM
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We were offered a plea of 20 years with parole after 10...... He (my brother) murdered two people-long story if you care to know more it is in my intro or PM me. He did not take the plea because we had a very well known/expensive lawyer who all but swore he would not do any time in a prison but be in a hospital for a couple years....The outcome life with out parole!! There is not a day that passes we all don't wish he would have signed that paper. He would be home next year, but instead we are still fighting appeals and are now awaiting a date for the 4th trial now. Its been almost 9 years!!

see ladies and gents it works both ways!
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Old 12-03-2004, 11:35 AM
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hello everyone,
i am new to this.... my boo got eleven to fourteen years state for B&E. His lawyer told him that me and two of his other friends were not going to testify on his behalf. (which was a lie). We has spent the previous day in his office going over the case and what we were going to say. He told us to come to court at 12:00 in the afternoon which is the time his case would be heard, needless to say they tried him earlier and since we were not there he wasnt sure what to do, so he took the plea. Because he had prior B&E's they told him if he went to trial he would get 99 years! We are trying to get a sentence reduction because of lack of representation. but i am having trouble getting court documents his lawyer is not trying to work with me at all. Any one have any suggestions please let me know. Since then i have found out he has done the same thing to other people.

have a blessed day everyone.....keep us in your prayers
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Old 12-03-2004, 12:09 PM
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My guy took 29 to life for homicide and drug charges. He was 19 when he committed his crime. I am sure he'd have done much worse in a jury trial, we live in a county where juveniles who didn't touch a gun have gotten 40 to life in non-murder cases.
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Old 12-03-2004, 03:14 PM
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Federal. Conspiracy to manufacture. Pled down to 25 to life, cause he wouldn't implicate anyone else. The attorney even told him after that it was the worst plea agreement she had ever gotten. What a crock.
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Old 12-03-2004, 05:49 PM
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jeez, i'm so sorry for the troubles! as far as court records go, booty - you can get a transcript of anything, anytime through your records department at the courthouse. federal or state. you just need the name, a few dollars, and the dates and/or case numbers. that's your right. what to do with them is a different matter ...my suggestion is to get on the legal websites and find someone you can speak to who can go over the case after you get the paperwork. FAMM, Sentencing.org, FEDCURE...these all have just a wealth of information. usually the first appeal is denied - and we still haven't figured out why. the "second" is usually a 2255 in the fed, not sure in the state court - i'm sure someone on this board knows. also check out resources on this board - the board is just fabulous - i'm so grateful to have found it. best of luck to all of you. what a sad bunch we are...but don't lose faith, and please stay focused! we're all they've got, you know.
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Old 12-04-2004, 10:05 PM
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My bf got in trouble once, when he was 20, before we met for s/d of mari. and took the first offender and served 4 months in a bootcamp. And when you take the first offender, you can't get in any more trouble. Well my bf got in trouble just for hanging with the wrong crowd, again. And he got caught riding in the car with people that had cocaine on them, someone through it and the police caught my bf and "knew" it was his since he'd already been in trouble. So after sitting in county for four months he plead out, with the "advice" of his lawyer. So now, everything is all screwed up and I don't know how long he's got. The GDC web says 5 years for s/d of mari. and that was the charge before I met him. They haven't even added the poss. of cociane charge. I don't know this is so crazy...

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Old 12-05-2004, 02:36 AM
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My Sons first Prison Term. He had aDUI Hit and Run. He later went back one hour later. I took him myself. He was sobered up by then. He flipped a Suburban. There was one Lady of Drinking age and the owner of the Suburban. My Son was under age. She gave him the keys. She sat in the passenger seat. She tempted him with Driving her vechile. This was a cool ride for a young man of his age 18 1/2 It was all custom. Lowered etc etc. This woman. Was out running around with her Husband at home with there Children. She was seeing another young man at the time who was younger than my Son. She had her young boyfriends sistetr in the car, as well. This girl was on 14 years old. She is the one who bought the alcohol. There was a reson my son wrecked he was drinking and she was trying to grab him between the legs. Any way he swerved and flipped the ride. He then looked at everyone and asked the two girls. My Son asked if everyone was ok? They replied they were! He kicked out the window and took off. I took him to the California highway patrol. We went in the back room my Son gave a statement. He admitted to being Drunk and Driving. They never tested him. So they just let us go with a ticket to appear. My Son went to the 1st two court dates, The next court day he forgot and so did I. Stupid! The next morning I got a call that the police were looking for my son for Armed Robbery. Terrorists threats and about 4 other Felony's Assualt with intent to do Great Bodily injurt with a weapon! Naturally I freaked! I found my Son at his friends house. He was terrified. They were all out in force looking for him. I asked him? He said he did not know what they were talking about. He had been where he was and been there all nite. She said he had been there. Her 7 year old said he was there also and was still asleep when the little guy left for school on the couch! I as always have taught my kids. to take responsibility for there actions and not run Lets go to the sherriffs Dept. We live in a small town. We went there. The detectives questioned him. He denied doing any of it. So they were going to investigate further. He was ready to leave. They then arrested him on his missing his court date, I called when he missed and was told to have himn there the following wednesday. Well the arrested him not on all the suspected charges, but on the failure to appear 1 day after. I went and bailed him out. He goes to court and is going through the process for the DUI. All of a sudden they file charges on all the other charges. I Freaked. A well known business owner in our area. Stated my Son borrowed his truck. They found the victums house key and wallet in this other boys truck. This other boy had been in a lot of trouble in the last prior 3 months. attemting to run over a off duty police jogging holding himself hostage with a gun to keep the cops away! My Son said he had not borrowed this kids truck. The father was the one that found the wallet in his sons truck. I beleive the young man knew my Son and knew my son had recently been in trouble wrecking the Suburban. That's why he said my sons nam,e. Anyway It took me about 4 weeks and I finally came up with thhe 50.0000 bail they revoked his other bail in order to hold him until they filed charges on this more serious case. They just wanted my money or hopped I would not be able to come up with it. I cashed in my retirement because I knew these were trumped up charges. I'm glad I did they were trying to give him 17 years. Well I hired a attorney a long time friend. He worked and worked and I worked and worked and pounded the pavement and got all the info I could. It paid off. There 2 star witnesses were found to have been lieing the father and son in order to try to cover for his son he sauid his son and his truck were home? Well then how did my son borrow it? Any way they wanted to send my son away! This county hates him and me. I sued them prior for abuse of my son while in custudy I and my Son won! This is revenge. Anyway they were pushing it all the way! Well after enlightenment of our information! ( at the beggining he was given a public defender which was about 2 weeks from taking over DA. After I gave him the info I had" This public defender said He was removing himsef from the case. Conflict. He told the judge that he could not represent my Son cause he was socially involved with that boys family, and it was looking like he was more of the suspevct of this crime. thats when I hired my friend. So finally the Da was getting worried he knew if we went to trail we were going to win or it would be thrown out prior. Now the worst part. If he woulld not have missed him court date for the DUI. Anyway they were trying to hang him somehow. So they pushed that case his first DUI, They told him this is the plea bargain! If you go to trial on the serious several felonys and win? We are going to give the maximum of 4years . 6 months on the DUI. If you agree to plead to assualt with intent to do great bodily injury? We will give you a 3 year lid? Well isnt that sweet. He just wanted to get the least time. He plead to it. At sentencing the judge said we know you did not commit this crime and probably had no knowledge of it. (mind you this is in the transricpts) But you agreed to the plea bargain! My Son got sentenced to 3 years in State Prison. Well after my son did his time and was released. Guess what his papers showed? Still said assualt with a deadly weapon which is way worse! That was not the plea now 3 years later we are still trying to get the deadly weapon part completely removed cause his lawyer said that ewas not the plea bargain. It still shows up. I beleive they forced him into pleading a much more severe crime which they all new he did not do so they could have that on his record. He just as a young man of 18 wanted the least ampount of time. Usually 1st DUI in ca dont even get jail time. Well they made sure it said DUI whith injury. The lady went to the hospital. All the reports saidd no serives needednot so much as a asprin or a bandaid or anything. At the Pre trial interview by the lady she said she got a scratch on her wrist. No one seen it. The other thing is she never told the officers when they got to the scene that the 14 year old girl was in the vehicle also they had alredy hid her. But she named my son. Why because she was scarred now because she was out doing drugs and alcohol with under age kids cheating on her husbad and had to have a excuse for wrecking there brand new 2800.000 dollar vechile said he took the keys. Then why was she sitting next to him? Do u think they prosocuted her for why they had the alcohol in the 1st place? Hope this helps also guess what this other son of the business owner for all his bad charges he was going through prior they sent him to 6 months rehab and never even filed charges for all the charges they tried to stick my son with!
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Last edited by Mistify; 12-05-2004 at 02:50 AM..
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Old 12-06-2004, 11:35 PM
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New development: US V WILSON...7th circuit court. The appeals court decided that the government acted in bad faith...and compelled the government to offer the 35k reduction in sentence to Wilson, who co-operated and withdrew a motion as part of a plea bargain. basically, the gov said ok let's give you this and that and told the judge they were going to, then turned around and said nah, you don't deserve it and you don't get nothing. the first court of appeals upheld that (ok on the gov opting out on what they promised). The lawyer took it back to the Appeals court and the 7th circuit (gawd bless them for having fortitude) looked at it real hard and said, hey - wilson's right...they acted in bad faith - and remanded, reversed and vacated. that's pretty good news for the rest of us - it's another case to cite when we petition for a re-hearing.
just to keep you all informed.
keep the faith!
stay focused!
mary
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Old 12-06-2004, 11:41 PM
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My Marc was "advised" that it was in his best interest to take a plea...State prison for 5-7 years......after the fact we regretted it but there was nothing we could do.....we were told he may get life without parole if we let the jury decide and we were scared.....at the time we thought that might happen cause our state is so screwy! But after the fact we realized different and wished we hadnt taken it....but then again, there was a chance that you go to trial and have a jury full of people who are having a bad day....you never know?!?!?
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Old 12-07-2004, 05:10 PM
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Thank you all for your stories and responses. I can tell they're heartfelt. (thumping my own heart in agreement). Here's the best I can do for us...please follow the news on Blakely, Fanfan and Booker. They're cases that are before the Supreme Court. Blakely has already been "decided", and now Fanfan and Booker are probably going to have decisions come down from the Supreme Court very soon. They affect your loved one! The only way you can file a motion to have your case reheard is on a basis of two points: NEW EVIDENCE, or NEW LAW. Now, as it stands, no-one knows if this change in laws is going to be retroactive, but I can bet you that the 188 month sentences and life without parole sentences that were handed out after our loved ones "plea-bargained" their way into a crappy deal because the US Attorneys and State Attorneys and Judges were lazy, hiding behind the mandatory minimum to just clear their desks and trim down their caselog- our loved ones will have a new direction and a new law to base a re-hearing on. So it's all good news, no matter what the decision is that comes down. Someone, somewhere - is looking at mandatory minimums and sentencing guidelines and they want to know HOW to change/fix/rework it. That's good news for all of us. So, keep the faith! Stay focused!
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Old 12-28-2004, 12:10 PM
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When faced with the choice between 20+ years locked up and doing "only" one, two, or even three years even a completely innocent person is probably going to go for the plea. I feel so sad when when I read some of these stories.
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Old 12-29-2004, 09:54 AM
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My husband took a plea -- a 6 flat in lieu of going to court and facing 15 to life. The victim was a reputable doctor from another country who'd gone back to his country. I attended all the court hearings which means I heard the remarks the clerks and the judge were making when my husband was not in the room. First off, the Judge Cooperman (Queens) DID NOT like him nor was he impressed with my husband's rap sheet. Second off the doctor was in his country, my husband felt The State of NY was bluffing, that The State of NY would NOT fly the man here to testify. Third off, the DA or ADA was gunning for my husband because his record repulsed her (and the judge).

I'm telling my husband that while he's in the waiting area I'm hearing the clerks say there won't be no problem for the state to finance a plane trip for the doctor to come testify at trial. I'm hearing them say the State doesn't care how they spend money. So I'm tellin my husband with him having a ridiculously long rap sheet that the reputable doctor could get on the stand and say my husband took a crap in the middle of the street and I do declare the jury would find the doctor's word to be highly credible, particularly since my husband was in no position to testify in his own behalf. He says he didn't do what he was charged with, I wasn't there so I don't know, but he feels had he gone to trial that he'd of won. Because 6 years then go home sounded better than 15-life if he blows trial, he took the plea, which was difficult for him because he had to admit to things he says he didn't do. Oh, and the grand jury minutes -- based on what was stated in them that testimony alone could of got him sent up. Every once in a while he still tells me he wish he'd of taken his case to trial b/c he know he would of won. A big black man out in queens with a long-tail rap sheet verses a doctor so reputable in his field that no other doctor in the hospital he worked with could cover for him?? Yeah, right -- I don't think so.

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Old 12-29-2004, 12:24 PM
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My son has 2 felony charges that he pled guilty to because of the fear of sitting in the county jail for a long time, because he was young and naive, and because he had bad legal counsel.
Our county jail is a place that would be a condemned building if anybody other than "throwaways" were housed there. A new jail is finally under construction because two jailers were killed at the dilapidated jail due to the lack of protection for them also. Very sad for anybody who spends time there, locked up or otherwise. Anyway, my son was told that if he pled innocent that he could be stuck in that place for a year before his case came to trial. Even prison was better than that place so the plea bargain looked real good to him.
The problem is that at 17 my son never thought about the effect these charges would have on the rest of his life. All he cared about was getting out of jail the quickest way he could. Now at 21 he says he would not have pled guilty. But if he had done it the other way around, it could have turned out worse. He didn't have the funds to fight the charges. He had a public defender who did not even know his name. In fact, when my son's name was called in court, his public defender said he wasn't in the courtroom. He was sitting next to her on the bench! What chance did he have anyway? The justice system will never be equal until everyone can have the same representation.
A lot of innocent people have records because of plea bargains. But what would we do without plea bargains? The system does not work so there is a need for plea bargains.

These were state charges.
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Old 01-01-2005, 05:15 PM
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My husband was a co defendant in his case. There was a woman being held on 150,000.00 bail for manufacturing, which is what they got Eddy on. Her rap sheet was nothing like his - if he'd taken this jury trial he would have been down up to 30 years. Still, I think he would have taken his chances, but they offered him a reduction from 1st to 2nd degree and that they'd release the woman and dismiss her charges. He agreed to this and confessed to manufacturing. As soon as he was done, they told him the woman had hung herself the day before and that he'd confessed for nothing. His attorney refused to try to get the confession thrown out, and the tape "disappeared". He didn't get a reduction in severity level either and is serving 8 1/2 to 13 years in state.

I keep telling myself it could have been a WHOLE lot worse, even though they had NO evidence on him other than the word of a snitch (who within months was arrested for a first degree controlled substance crime, AGAIN, and once again is free as a bird because he is putting everyone away he can think of). Neither my husband nor his co defendent were anywhere near the residence when it was raided, and there was no lab. Just evidence that there "may have been manufacturing activity at one time".

But given our history with the justice system, we knew better than to think he'd win at trial.
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Old 01-02-2005, 03:29 PM
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thank you all. it's so sad to hear so many similar stories. it's almost like it's just the way of the injustice system. My son was told by the federal assistant us attorney that he would die an old man in prison if he didn't plead out. they didn't want to "waste" the taxpayer's money. my son got 15 years for a conspiracy charge. i guess they'd rather "waste" money putting 17 and 18 year olds in overcrowded prisons for twenty years. Makes more sense doesn't it? jeeeez, I read your stories, and thump my chest in understanding. we are SO MUCH MORE than this, aren't we? as a society, as a people? we've got to do whatever it takes to change this sentencing disaster around. i hope those of you who can, will send emails and letters to your representatives, the organizations and agencies fighting the injustice system, and phone in every show that has the nerve to address all of these unfair sentencing disparities. best of luck to all of you and all of us! and remember, we're 2.2 million in prisons and jails in the USA. That's times five of us loved ones and friends on the outside. So we're 11 million strong! We've got the power, let's just find the right people to lobby!
keep the faith!
stay focused!
mary
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Old 01-02-2005, 04:19 PM
Jan7El Jan7El is offline
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Great post Mary. Awareness is the only way to bring about change.
I am sorry your son received so much time at such a young age.
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Old 01-02-2005, 04:57 PM
JayandMe JayandMe is offline
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State.......20 YEARS at 14 YEARS OLD!!!!!

My man was incarcerated at 14 years old....he was in foster care at the time and his mother never even showed up for court (big looser) his grandparents were the only support he had and were not even advised!

His appointed lawyer told him to take the deal and so he did....at 14 years old he took a plea bargain of 20 YEARS!!!!! For a NON violent car jacking that went a little bad. He's in for conspiracy to committ murder.....BUT they didn't know the guy (it was random) there was NO weapon and when the guy ran away....they never even chased him just kept the car!

I have a web site on his story...it's http://www.freewebs.com/jefferycoats/
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Old 01-02-2005, 08:34 PM
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bluemama bluemama is offline
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My, everyone should read this web page. Talk about injustice. My heart aches for YOU, too-my. You're both in my prayers (my prayer list just keeps getting longer and longer - i bet it's up to about an hour by now, just since I got on this board).
keep the faith!
stay focused!
mary
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:54 PM
JayandMe JayandMe is offline
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Yes.....our stories are very similar eh! I noticed your other posts after I wrote it!

I watch a show on A&E the other day where a 12 year old boy beat a 6 year old girl to death....when he went to trial he was 14 years old and he got life in adult prison BUT then after much protesting (in Florida) they took him out in under 2 years and gave him 1 year house arrest and 10 years probation! He beat her to death with his bare hands.....my J didn't even have a weapon or harm anyone and nobody protested his injustice! Sad!
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