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Sentencing/Need opinions PLEASE

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I wish I could be brief but if I do, no one will know the who story that happened in Florida

Three years ago, Paul, an avid Mopar fan, professional landscaper, son and friend was living a normal life. Although he did not have financial stability, he was generally happy. He attended car shows with his best friend and for the first time had a relationship with a woman whom he wished to marry. Shortly, things turned ugly. His best friend began taking drugs. He tried to persuade his friend to stop but on one disturbing day, he heard that his friend had committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning and was found seated in a car in a closed garage with the engine running. This was a very difficult time for him but he still prevailed due to his mother’s support and that of the woman he loved. However, that was not the end. After returning home from work one day, he walked through his home to find that no one was there. To his dismay, he also found that items were missing that belonged to his now, fiancé. There was no note or message of any type to explain the empty home. He called where she worked but they told him that earlier that day, she asked what time she was due for work and said see you later, then disappeared. For some time after that, he began checking Internet resources and asking the help of his friends and family to locate her. To this day, she has not been found. At this point, he felt he had lost everything he worked for and the people he truly loved. The classic 68 Charger he had restored and won car shows with was in a poor state and could only travel 35 MPH. Well, that did it and he turned to drugs and became addicted. On May 9, 1999 after filling his system with “crack cocaine”, he stopped at a convenience store to pick up a pack of cigarettes and then came home with no money in his pockets and no hope in his heart. When he entered, he retrieved an unloaded pellet gun that resembled a rifle and his waist length leather jacket. He then hopped into the Charger and stopped at the same convenience store. After walking inside, wearing his jacket and carrying the pellet gun (still empty) and pointed to the floor, he asked the clerk for what he had. The clerk complied and gave him approximately $70.00. Paul then returned to the car, and began driving away. As he did, he stopped by a park, tossed the jacket and pellet gun in a bushy area and continued on. Not long after, the police appeared behind him, following him for a short distance and then turned on their lights at which time he immediately looked for a place to pull over and stopped. He was taken into custody without conflict. Several hours later, he was allowed to call his mother. He told her that he really messed up bad. He related what had happened the prior evening and pleaded for her help. What could a mother do but try to help her only son. With the help of the family and friends, bail was posted and he was released in her custody. He told her that they had informed him he had been captured on camera in the store, during interrogation by the police. She soon saw the interrogation tape from the police department however, it should be noted that the surveillance tape, from the store, was never produced to the defense attorney. He had at first denied having been involved in the robbery but after being removed from the room for approximately one and a half hours, was returned to the interrogation room and suddenly confessed. He even lead the police to the jacket and pellet gun. For the first year while going to hearings, he still displayed some hopelessness, and struggled with the addiction problems. Then, something changed. His ambition and motivation for improvement returned. He became interested in Paranormal and UFO phenomenon. He began research at the library and via the Internet on these phenomenons at which time he instigated an Internet site devoted to determining the credibility of sightings and the history of Ufology. During 2000 and 2001, he had gained the recognition of many individuals regarding his work and articles. He even had some published by others in the industry, of course there were no monetary rewards. Nearing the end of 2000, he had finally obtained a good job at a large landscaping company and was moving up the ladder. At this time, he began planning to start his own landscaping business. Additionally, he had been contacted by an individual offering a position under contract with her to write a weekly column on the phenomenon he had been investigating and reporting on his own which would provide additional actual income. Needless to say, this boosted his ambition and motivation even further. For two years, they drug this out while he rebuilt his life and regained some self-respect. During this time there were no other problems, arrests etc. which gave him the hope that he would be able to continue and prove that he was indeed, rehabilitated, or at least, well on the way. There was no criminal history with the exception of minor traffic infractions. There have been psychological profiles indicating that he is definitely not a habitual offender and yet, the prosecuting attorney insisted on embellishing the facts and ignoring the progress that he accomplished. I ask, is this justice or is it a gross injustice? This is not rehabilitation, this is a destruction of a truly remorseful human being who realized that he had done a grave wrong but also realized that it could not be undone. He asked only for the chance to prove himself. Now came the big day, the final sentencing on June 6, 2001. With his mother, one of his sisters, a nephew, his current employer, former employer and a former chief bailiff at his side, he proceeded to court. He also was in possessions of letters from those who had no way of making it to the courthouse. After waiting in the courtroom for about an hour, he and his attorney were called to speak in front of the judge. One by one, his friends, family and co-workers were called as character witnesses, all of which gave glowing and TRUE reports not only backed up by personal feelings but by facts. When it was Paul’s turn to speak, the judge asked him what he felt should be the sentence. After much consideration, Paul asked that he be given a second chance not only to pay off debts to his attorney and family for their monetary support, but also to prove to the court what type of a man he had truly become. Paul said that he would be grateful for community control (house arrest) and would serve any length of probation and community service no matter how long. He also requested that he be assisted in conquering his addiction. As the two bailiffs watched with a disturbing look on their face and an actual hush came over the courtroom, the judge passed down the sentence. He gave over 34 months jail time and how odd, no probation. Not only did his family begin to cry but those in the courtroom who did not know Paul or his family. The bailiffs had a complete look of disappointment of their faces. A man, after making one horrible mistake without malice as the pellet gun was not loaded and not pointed at the clerk and turning his life around to a point where success was imminent, was knocked to the bottom and hopes dashed once again. He was now loosing the home he had worked so hard for, the job that he poured his heart and soul into and the possibility of becoming a well renowned paranormal researcher and reporter. My question, if the court system is to make the community safe and rehabilitate those that could be a danger to others, why is it that Paul was out of jail for over two years without so much as a visit from the court, unless they felt he was not a danger to society. Rather, the court sentenced him, over two years after the fact, to 34 months in jail with no probation afterward which is usually done to make sure that he is fit. Additionally, where is the rehabilitation? Paul admitted to his addiction but the court merely decided to rip his life apart.

Other Information and Questions:

The clerk, who in prior hearings stated that he was in fear for his life if Paul should remain out of jail, was seen at a local bar where Paul was present. He obviously did not recognize Paul or was not worried as he lit Paul’s cigarette, and remained in conversation with him.

What happened for that hour and a half when he was being interrogated by the police while not in view of the camera and additionally, where is the tape from the convenience store, that mysteriously disappeared? Why did it take two years for the officer’s to give depositions unless they also felt that it was a senseless case to pursue? Why was the prosecuting attorney allowed to cite from a “surveillance tape” that was never entered into evidence, or produced to the defense attorney?

There are many other questions that should be posed, as well as things that were not spoken of at the hearing or, by what we feel, were not considered when the sentencing was imposed. It was on June 9, 2001 that Paul’s attorney’s advised us that the prosecution also did not expect that outcome, that they indeed expected a downward departure, which would have allowed the judge to impose the sentence requested by Paul and his Attorney. This in itself also poses the question, what was the judge’s motivation for not considering this and issuing this unfair sentence.

I always believed that the purpose of justice was to impose and rehabilitate when feasible, not to blatantly ignore testimony and facts. This is a case whereby, there was never any prior incidents, simply a young man who let himself become downtrodden. A young man who would never have considered such a deed while in possession of his faculties. Who has since overcome that depression and literally pulled himself up and rehabilitated himself.

Please help! The more public interest shown the better the chance of having this sentence reduced and a fair judgment obtained. If anyone should have questions, I would be more than happy to speak personally about this, to show that this criminal justice system does not hold to it’s supposed mission.



My husband and I paid over $6,000 to 2 different attorneys to attempt to get a sentence reduction for his 7 year sentence. Cocaine ruined his life, too. He almost murdered me, and did not know what he was doing at the time he was so out of it. In any case, he will have a parole hearing, with less than 3 years to serve, is he is county jail or prison? A lot of times, for Class C felonies, they will release them to house arrest in just a few months. No real freedom, but heaven compared to jail, and you can work and all. In any case, I am rambling, I do not have your letter printed up, so may not remember exactly as it was long, we lost all that money because over 90% of sentence reductions lose. Not a hope in hell. I would get an atty, if you can afford one. If not, my husband made friends with the law clerks, and some know just as much and will give you the documents you can file on your own behalf. You will not get the sentence reduced. You may succeed in getting it modified. You do need legal help, and sadly I am not a lawyer. Good luck. My husband comes home July 5 after serving 3 years on 7. Don't abandon him. Letters and visits mean the world to them, they really do. Also, any money you can send him, stamps, etc., can be traded for sodas, snacks, commissary. He will need that to keep feeling human. Take his phone calls, if possible. It gets expensive. Set a timer. It will keep hope alive in him, and in you. You obviously love him. People in court do not see the person we love, only the moment when they snapped and did something they could not take back. Our baby was stillborn. It almost killed us both. Cocaine is horrible. He wanted to quit, but could not. He OD'd, and the people he was with left him to die and called me. In the end, he was spending over $500 week. He started again in prison, there are more drugs there than on the street, and I turned his dealers in after they broke bones in his face. I will not pay it, as they do not play and simple possession in a correctional facility will catch him another 5 years, probably, running wild. Not concurrent, I mean. I am so sorry for your trouble. You will meet women like me at the jail or prison who love their men, too, sons, brothers. It helps a lot for you to have people who understand.

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