Patterico's Pontifications

6/7/2008

17-Year-Old Gets Eight Years in State Prison for Threat

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 4:52 pm



From the Houston Chronicle:

A 17-year-old who phoned his rival high school on a school bus and threatened to open fire on students has been sentenced to eight years in state prison.

Holy bajolies.

The article doesn’t say whether the kid had a record. But, unless his record contains a past incident of actually shooting people — and there is no hint this is true — this sounds like a wildly excessive sentence.

27 Responses to “17-Year-Old Gets Eight Years in State Prison for Threat”

  1. It does indeed. There MUST be more to this story than what that news item reported.

    David Ehrenstein (fc61c1)

  2. I’d be interested to learn if threats decrease after this. I expect so.

    Personally, I think this is a perfectly appropriate sentence for someone who threatens to kill people, though of course I’m (pleasantly) surprised that anyone would receive such a heavy sentence. People who make threats, in my view, are fit only for the lake of fire. Whatever else they do in life, I think that on balance they make the world a worse place for the rest of us.

    Alan (0cf397)

  3. Wow, 8 years does seem a bit much. I mean, he doesn’t even have a stupid name or anything.

    jimboster (364ef3)

  4. Bad lawyer, bad client. It happens. The lawyer sees a client who is a totally unattractive asshole and his only chance is to throw himself to the mercy of the court. The client is too stupid to know how to pretend to behave like a human being in front of the judge. The lawyer doesn’t realize that before he allows his client to enter a blind plea.

    The sentence is two years less than the maximum, if that’s any comfort.

    nk (0e7da1)

  5. No this is ridiculous. The judge in the case, Jack Skeen, is a sleazy character. This story should be pursued further. This is completely absurd and in keeping with his style. This kid got nailed by a grandstanding judicial narcissist.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/side2/575929.html

    Jack Klompus (b796b4)

  6. i served on a dallas county jury back in 1998 and after we convicted the defendant the trial went into a sentencing phase in which we decided the punishment. wouldnt that process be the same statewide? meaning that the judge handed down the sentence the jury voted on?

    chas (12a229)

  7. oops, just noticed from the article it was pled out.

    chas (12a229)

  8. Instead of pleading guilty to making a terroristic threat, couldn’t his lawyer have worked a deal for the kid to plead no-contest to a lesser charge?

    Re: #3 – nk

    The local paper, the Tyler Morning Telegraph, reported that, “The defendant (Terrance L. Taylor) was sentenced to 75 days in the Smith County Jail on Dec. 11 after he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of burglary of a vehicle.”

    http://www.tylerpaper.com/article/20080607/NEWS08/806070315

    So he wasn’t a Boy Scout; he had a record of arrest & conviction (and pleading guilty). However, considering that the sentencing range was 2-10 years, this was still excessive.

    Missed It By THAT Much (394169)

  9. so on Dec 11 he was sentenced to 75 days in jail and then in Jan he made this phone call? so he hadnt even started serving time or he was released early?

    chas (12a229)

  10. Patterico:

    It’s possible that other people have done similar things and received lesser sentences, and that may play a role in your position that the sentence is excessive. But do you believe that eight years in the slam — or however much time he’ll actually serve — is inherently excessive? Or is it only excessive relative to other defendants?

    Because it doesn’t seem inherently excessive to me at all; eight years for threatening to kill dozens of people, a la Columbine… sounds about right.

    Do you think that Singapore-style caning is cruel and unusual for, say, robbery without a weapon? Because it seems that so many criminals nowadays aren’t particularly bothered by serving a few months in jail or even a year or two in prison: Catch up with the homeys, buff up, don’t have to worry about food or where you’re going to sleep, watch TV, throw a ball around the yard…

    Something terrible happened, probably starting in the 1960s: Our society has lost sight of the fact that punishment is supposed to be extremely unpleasant. Rough enough that even sociopaths say “I don’t want to go through that again, ever!”

    Caning is much more painful and humiliating than jail… but I’m sure such a law wouldn’t survive a week without being overturned on grounds of C and U.

    But what are we to do? The existing set of punishments doesn’t seem to be working very well.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd ab Hugh (db2ea4)

  11. #9
    You’ll recall the US punk who broke some law in Singapore. I forgot just what- perhaps graffiti? Clinton interceded but kid still took his licking. Came back home and beat up his mother. Wonder how he turned out as an adult.

    Perhaps humiliation of some sort would ameliorate further urges to commit crime? Chains gangs? That “brutal” treatment the Az. sheriff metes out- pink clothes, bologna sammies, no coffee, etc. Oh, the inhumanity! Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. I’m all for visible tats showing one is a perp and even special car IDs for drunk drivers. They shouldn’t get all those chances to drink and drive.

    madmax333 (fcc1e4)

  12. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time

    EricPWJohnson (d2733c)

  13. “The sentence is two years less than the maximum, if that’s any comfort.”

    Thank you, war on terror hysteria.

    stef (8a38ef)

  14. Don’t actual murderers get less time? Black on black crime comes to mind, seems like there are guys spending less than 8 years in the can for killing.

    martin (cd5d90)

  15. eght years for making a threat and being stupid what a future liberal he is

    krazy kagu (960a68)

  16. “eight years for threatening to kill dozens of people, a la Columbine… sounds about right.”
    What? So does the “style” of the threat determine the punishment? If he had threatened them “ala Virginia Tech” would he deserve 20 years? If he used a lot of cursing and “sounded really angry” in the threat would that tack on another five? If he had actually assaulted and caused bodily harm to someone at the school I guess that’s what, the death penalty?

    Catch up with the homeys, buff up, don’t have to worry about food or where you’re going to sleep, watch TV, throw a ball around the yard…
    Is this what you really believe a sentence in state prison is like?

    You have a jackass kid who has proven to be no angel. But you also have a justice system in a county that has a horrible “win at all costs” reputation and also a reputation for imposing completely out of proportion sentences. It sounds like in Smith County, Texas you’d better not be overheard on the street talking about someone who rubs you the wrong way and using the phrase, “Arrgh I swear I’ll kill him!” because moral crusader Jack Skeen will toss you in the state pen for five years to satisfy his arrogant, self-promotion as a hanging judge.
    This is going to get overturned.

    Jack Klompus (b796b4)

  17. It looks like the misdemeanor sentence was for time served and he did it without counsel, his court-appointed attorney apparently having withdrawn.

    It also looks like that the terroristic threat case was ready for jury trial when the plea was entered. My understanding is that Texas judges are allowed to participate in plea conferences and even initiate them. It boggles the mind that the defense attorney did not ask the judge “What will you give him if he pleads out?”

    nk (0e7da1)

  18. Sorry, link to search results does not work.

    Here’s the search page.

    nk (0e7da1)

  19. Don’t mess with Texas.

    Alta Bob (53a695)

  20. There’s always more to these surface scratch public reaction cases – the MSM loves to understate things to get the masses going leaving out crispy facts albeit deliberately

    For Example

    Ramos and Compean – one confessed in writing he was trying to kill the guy – both confessed they were sure they had seriously wounded him – but left him to die

    Gernalow Wilson – Every one of the males who participated are still serving lengthy prison sentences (and they did less than him) Every juror, judge who saw the film – had no problem finding him guilty. The Georgia supreme court did not view the tape and by a split court freed him

    The Louisiana White Tree Noose case – they convientently left out the lengthy criminal pasts of those who participated in the beat down

    Joe Horn – reports now are that he gave chase – gunned them down in the street from behind shooting one man again as he was crawling away – both shot in the back – in the street – far far cry from a man torn by his respect for upholding the law

    So I’m not immediately canvassing for this guys civil rights just yet- the other shoes haven’t dropped yet – yet

    EricPWJohnson (d2733c)

  21. whoopsie, shoulda capped the time before entering the plea. maybe there’s an ineffective counsel argument here.

    it costs what, 20-30 grand a year to lock someone up? judges are investors of public money. will texas get 200 grand worth of value for this decision? of course, texas seems to be made of money, in contrast to upside-down california and oregon, poor as a church mouse. how can we suck money from texas to the coast, anyone?

    after doing such a good job covering the story, i noticed that this blog fell silent upon the texas supreme court’s rebuke to cps in the flds case. i wanted to hear authoritarian statists crying in their beer. imagine the liability for unlawfully separating parents from young children. if it will help suck money from texas, i volunteer to take several wives. it’s a tough job but i’m up to it.

    assistant devil's advocate (46360c)

  22. ADA

    Not if you bring back the labor for hire – we choose to spend money – we could make money if WE wanted to

    EricPWJohnson (d2733c)

  23. ADA

    The TCCS order actually put all the responsibility back on Judge Walthers saying only release the children if she felt they were not in danger (gee wasn’t that the point – she told the high court that the children were in danger so thats why she issued the ruling in the first place) – it was a split court and it was one of the gutless examples of courts worrying more about public opinion than the facts of the case

    EricPWJohnson (d2733c)

  24. ADA – You hear the one about the FDLS baby raper’s eight wives?

    Seven of them have it soft.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  25. I’m sure in the interests of nonpartisanship that Levi will agree- Texas justice runs amok. Dubya was governor when he allowed that black fellow to be dragged to his death behind a car. Bush was heartless in not pardoning the lady sentenced to death who found Christ and was thus a born-again Christian. He also also Katrina because he wanted to punish blacks for being poor. ..and 9/11 happened on his watch despite warnings and the clinton gorelick wall between agencies was of no import.
    I don’t know where O’reilly or Geraldo would stand on this particular case and don’t care, but that’s what gets attention, these media circuses.
    I do feel that one’s color or ethnicity should have no bearing on outcomes. It seems Urkel thinks the black man suffers disporportionately though. Guess it couldn’t be a cultural thing?
    / some of us are more concerned with the actual victims of the crimes. Although politically it is funny how some pols escape responsibility for what they themselves are actually in control of (ex. Katrina and the guv and mayor).

    madmax333 (9429a9)

  26. Bush allowed a man to be dragged to his death? I guess I missed that one.

    Alta Bob (53a695)

  27. Sarcasm, AB. Sarcasm.

    Jack Klompus (b796b4)


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