What would you give this kid?


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justin 561
July 10, 2008, 10:51 PM
I seen this in my local paper yesterday, and was wondering if anyone else thinks this sentence was a little less than what it should have been? He was accused and charged with trying to run down a LEO. The officer shot into the car hitting him in the back. That shot paralyzed him from the stomach down. He has been charged as a juvenile in this case. He is 15 years old. He also has 2 felony charges of "Robbery and Battery" under his belt, that was past convictions. He was sentenced to 6 years probation, and every 2 months talk to some youth groups. Also has 1 year house arrest time served. I don't feel sorry for him, he chose his path, and got off fairly easy. Paralyzed or not, he should have at least gotten the mandatory 20 months in jail. If you were the judge, what would you have given him?



Paralyzed teenager sentenced to probation for assaulting police officer

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH Circuit Judge Krista Marx sentenced a teen paralyzed in a police shooting to six years' probation Wednesday for aggravated assault on a police officer, grand theft auto and driving with no valid license.

Saying John Earl Clemons Jr., 15, was "running wild and out of control," Marx noted he had three previous arrests as a juvenile on charges including robbery, battery and disrupting a school function - run-ins that began two days after he turned 12. She sentenced him as a youthful offender.

"If you just shrug your shoulders and continue to make immature and poor choices, I'll send you to prison," Marx said, staring down at Clemons in his wheelchair.

Lantana police officer Joel Shackelford, who fired at Clemons thinking the teen was trying to run him over, was present for the sentencing and wrote a statement read in court by prosecutor Moira Lasch. Shackelford wrote of the tremendous stress the situation caused him and his family but cited his continued pride in being Lantana's only motorcycle officer and wearing the badge.

"It's very hard in this day and age for officers to perform their duties with the scrutiny and unjust accusations, especially from the media and public," Shackelford wrote.

Shackelford declined to comment to reporters as he left the courtroom.

Assistant Public Defender James Snowden said Clemons' defense at trial was that he had no intention of running over Shackelford during a November 2006 traffic stop. Jurors also considered an argument that Clemons was acting in self-defense, but obviously rejected that with their guilty verdict Wednesday morning.

Clemons was an eighth-grader at Congress Middle School in Boynton Beach and a linebacker for the Boynton Beach Bulldogs youth football team at the time of the shooting.

State sentencing guidelines called for a minimum of 20 months in prison. Prosecutor Lasch asked that his sentence at least include mandatory house arrest. Despite his paralysis, Clemons should be held responsible for his actions, she said.

Marx declined the request, noting Clemons had already served more than a year of house arrest. Marx crafted a special requirement of probation: Every two months, he must speak to groups, especially juvenile offenders, about his experience.

Clemons declined to comment to reporters as he wheeled away from the courtroom.

His mother, Naomi Gayle, said afterward it is God's place, not hers, to judge the sentence or the officer. She questioned, though, why the officer was not ordered to shore up his life like her son was and cope with his own stress.

Shackelford was cleared of wrongdoing in a report by the state attorney's office, which investigates all police shootings.

According to the report, an off-duty Shackelford followed a stolen 2001 Dodge Neon with Clemons at the wheel into an unincorporated area at the end of a cul-de-sac on Hyatt Avenue, just south of Hypoluxo Road.

He had his blue lights on and approached the car, yelling for the driver to turn it off. Instead, the engine revved and the Neon sped backward toward Shackelford, according to the report.

The car struck Shackelford's motorcycle and caused the officer to fear for his safety, according to the report.

Shackelford fired his weapon, striking the car's driver side. He ran to his left to get out of the car's path, and it turned in an arc in his direction.

It was not clear if Clemons was trying to hit the officer or make a U-turn, but Shackelford fired again, the report said.

A bullet wedged in Clemons' back, sentencing him to a life term - barring medical advances - in a wheelchair.

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Jeff White
July 10, 2008, 10:55 PM
Court decisions that don't directly affect RKBA or self defense laws are off topic at THR. This would be a good topic for: http://www.armedpolitesociety.com/

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