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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Shaquanda Cotton released

Good news. Shaquanda Cotton was released Saturday according to the Chicago Tribune (free registration reqd). Her release follows an ongoing national protest that arose after her story was published in the March 12 article in the Tribune. Now, more cases are being looked into and possibly hundreds of juveniles may be released from the scandal-ridden Texas juvenile system.

Jay Kimbrough, a special conservator investigating the faulty system, was the one to order Shaquanda's release. "We have no confidence in the system that was in place," said Jim Hurley, spokesman for the conservator, Jay Kimbrough. "And this case is an example of what we expect to happen if something wrong has been done to youths being held inside that system."

Rep. Harold Dutton, the chairman of the Texas Legislature's juvenile justice committee, said, "When I learned about this case, I thought, this just looks so bad and smells so bad it made me hurt."

Prison officials informed Shaquanda's mother on Friday afternoon she pick up her daughter that day, but because the drive was nearly five hours long and due to inclimate weather, Mrs. Cotton couldn't get there until Saturday. Shaquanda, overcome with emotion, collapsed to the floor when told that she would be able to go home with her mother.

Now here's the more interesting fact divulged by the article. Originally, Judge Superville claimed he had "no choice" but to sentence Shaquanda to prison because her mother testified that she wouldn't comply with the terms of probation. District Atty. Gary Young also stood by this assertion. But now Young has had to back away from the assertion as he has gone over the court transcript which basically refutes Superville's claim. The transcript shows that Mrs. Cotton did indeed answer "yes" when asked whether she would comply with her daughter's probation. Interesting how that bit of info got twisted around to vilify Mrs. Cotton.

Following being questioned about the discrepancy, Young directed that the D.A.'s website be revised to read: "Through her actions of non-cooperation, Ms. Cotton told the judge she would not comply with conditions of probation." So now it's her "actions" not her words that made them believe she would be non-compliant. Forgive me if I now that that statement with a grain of salt.

Isn't it also interesting how all of a sudden, the D.A.'s office, who had zealously prosecuted the girl and was set to stand by its the seven-year sentence, did an abrupt turnaround, claiming that she had served enough time.

"Let her out of TYC," said Allan Hubbard, spokesman for Lamar County District Atty. Gary Young. "Hell, she's done a year for pushing a teacher. That's too long."

Yeah, a year is too long - as was the possibility of seven years.

Looks like a few folks are trying to fumigate their behinds because the shit smell was getting out of hand. Too late.

Texas teen released from prison

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 4/01/2007 07:13:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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