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  #1  
Old 07-29-2018, 05:36 AM
jmdivine jmdivine is offline
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Default Don't feel everything was taken into consideration regarding plea bargan

My son was given 50 years. I was told everything that went down that night. But I don't feel everything was taken into consideration regarding the plea bargain he was given.
I am trying very hard to accept this. Mainly because it COULD have been worse. He was facing CM. The dp was waived. (Blessing). Charge reduced from CM to M. (Blessing). The fact a plea was even offered (Blessing). But....My son has no prior violent criminal history. He is a first time offender. Why weren't the factors that led to this acknowledged? Why couldn't the asst DA offer less? Will he be 3f or 4g when he is finally processed? Why must he serve half before eligible for parole review? Is there anything I/he can do?
I understand the fact i was allowed to address the court was a privilege (only victims,victims family are allowed).. My son's lawyer did not want me to mention his drug dependency. I felt I was cut off from my complete statement. I have been contemplating writing to the prosecutor and the judge. Not to bitch/complain. I do want to acknowledge the blessings and give thanks for being allowed to address the court. But I feel all factors should be known and acknowledged. And I have questions as well...

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  #2  
Old 07-29-2018, 05:51 AM
CenTexLyn CenTexLyn is offline
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Under current Texas law, a victim or victim's family must be provided information about any prospective plea offer before it is given to counsel for a defendant. It may well be that a victim was not on board with anything less than 50.

The requirement to serve half is simply a matter of law.

The only way to have potentially gotten less is to have gone to trial and hoped that it was not being tried as a death penalty case. The drop from capital murder is a part of the plea offer. Without that change, there are two and precisely two options that a jury has- life without parole or death.

For this to be a death penalty case as original charged says this is not a simple set of facts. You say you were told everything that 'went down that night' but from what source? If the son, it is quite possible that you did not actually get everything that happened...
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:11 AM
jmdivine jmdivine is offline
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His lawyers told me what happened. I know better than to take my son's explanation as gospel. He's not going to want to tell me "everything" . Either because he's ashamed or wants to not hurt me. I know my son isn't a saint. I'm not trying to pull the "Not my baby" card. But I also know how he is under the influence. What you day about victims not being on board with a plea makes a lot of sense tho. I'm just also curious as to why 1st timer isn't calculated into it. He has several people willing to give character testimony for him. Not just "friends & family, but pillars of the community.
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:15 AM
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As I mentioned...I want to acknowledge the blessings that were given to him. I can't claim to understand the law and all of the minute factors involved in decision making. I'm the type that just needs things to be laid out. Answer my questions I'm confused about. YEa, I'll probably cry about it, but afterwards if I know facts/details... It's easier for me to accept and understand. It helps me figure out where I need to "go from there."
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:27 AM
CenTexLyn CenTexLyn is offline
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The sentence suggests lack of prior history WAS indeed taken into account. He has a chance at parole. Many charged with capital murder won't ever have that chance. Capital murder tells us that the death occurred while he was committing another felony or that multiple people died.

He has a CHANCE to come home in 25 years. What he does with his time will drive much of how probable that chance might be. I would HIGHLY recommend that he take steps to reach out to the Victim Services Division once he hits TDCJ to seek an opportunity to participate in the Victim Offender Mediation program. At least that way, there MIGHT be an opportunity to mitigate the likelihood of a protest at the initial review...
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:25 AM
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Marseille Marseille is offline
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Just out of curiosity... if someone with no prior felonies murdered one of your children while robbing them... what do you think would be a fair sentence?

I get it... you’re operating on pure emotion here but you have to admit, for a first felony, this was a doozy. If you go straight to the top on your first shot, unfortunately all the considerations in the world aren’t going to erase this.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marseille View Post
Just out of curiosity... if someone with no prior felonies murdered one of your children while robbing them... what do you think would be a fair sentence?

I get it... youíre operating on pure emotion here but you have to admit, for a first felony, this was a doozy. If you go straight to the top on your first shot, unfortunately all the considerations in the world arenít going to erase this.
I'm not trying to diminish the seriousness of the crime. Yeah.. I'm emotional and probably "reaching" cuz I'm losing my child. I acknowledge the blessings he has been given. I'm trying to understand all of this. I'm trying to wrap my mind around all of this. That's why I joined this site.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:44 PM
Kzellweger Kzellweger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marseille View Post
Just out of curiosity... if someone with no prior felonies murdered one of your children while robbing them... what do you think would be a fair sentence?

I get it... youíre operating on pure emotion here but you have to admit, for a first felony, this was a doozy. If you go straight to the top on your first shot, unfortunately all the considerations in the world arenít going to erase this.
Totally agree here! My brother was murdered oct 12 2017. Weíre still going to court. He was murdered over drugs and greediness. The female that pulled the trigger has never been in trouble before but I am showing no mercy!
I understand you are upset... and all involved in our case had something to do with drugs as well... but murder is murder. I think he is blessed to have the chance to come home halfway through! We are pushing for zero chance of parole in our case.
You are hurting but Imagine the pain the other family is feeling!
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:49 PM
Kzellweger Kzellweger is offline
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As far as his drug dependency goes.. I would push for some kind of rehab or help while he is in. Do they offer programs? Do they have narcotics anonymous classes?
Not sure why they wouldn’t let you mention that in court.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kzellweger View Post
Totally agree here! My brother was murdered oct 12 2017. Weíre still going to court. He was murdered over drugs and greediness. The female that pulled the trigger has never been in trouble before but I am showing no mercy!
I understand you are upset... and all involved in our case had something to do with drugs as well... but murder is murder. I think he is blessed to have the chance to come home halfway through! We are pushing for zero chance of parole in our case.
You are hurting but Imagine the pain the other family is feeling!
I honestly do think of them. I hurt for them too. I think of the mothers and families of the 3 other guys. So many people's lives are forever altered. I will admit it is selfish of me to want more for my son. I feel so many different emotions with this. And you're right murder is murder regardless of the circumstances leading to it. Guess I'll just keep my questions to myself and Google answers.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:58 PM
Kzellweger Kzellweger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmdivine View Post
I honestly do think of them. I hurt for them too. I think of the mothers and families of the 3 other guys. So many people's lives are forever altered. I will admit it is selfish of me to want more for my son. I feel so many different emotions with this. And you're right murder is murder regardless of the circumstances leading to it. Guess I'll just keep my questions to myself and Google answers.
Itís not selfish to want more for your son. You are his mother and itís okay to feel how you do. I donít want to sound like Iím being harsh. If you take it that way I apologize! I guess Iím just sensitive to a subject like this because my brother was murdered and it hurts like hell every single day.
I donít think thereís anything you can do to change the sentence. Honestly, itís pretty fair for such a crime. But as far as him being addicted to drugs I would contact the judge Or the warden at whatever prison he goes to and see what they offer to help with his addiction.
Best of luck to you.
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Old 07-29-2018, 01:05 PM
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I think... (this is strictly my opinion) they didn’t want you to bring up the drug dependency because it wasn’t part of the plea deal, and part of accepting a plea is to accept responsibility for the murder, no? You might be reaching in the wrong direction on this one... I don’t think sentences typically get LOWERED as a result of illegal drug use.

Can it be addressed during his prison stay... absolutely and it should be and that may help his chances come parole review, but I have a feeling that not having it brought up during sentencing was probably a good thing for him.
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:21 PM
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Mom, this is part of grieving. There are no answers for anyone.
Just breathe and know that you will eventually find some kind of balance soon.
Trial and sentence is tumultuous, but he will start his sentence and you all will find your “new” normal.
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Old 07-29-2018, 05:47 PM
CenTexLyn CenTexLyn is offline
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As far as his drug dependency goes.. I would push for some kind of rehab or help while he is in. Do they offer programs? Do they have narcotics anonymous classes?
Not sure why they wouldnít let you mention that in court.
1) yes, AA/NA exists but there is often a waiting list
2) there is generally no hearing on a plea bargain...State gives counsel a number, counsel relays it to the client who then either says yes or no. If accepted, there is a VERY BRIEF and VERY PERFUNCTORY proceeding in which certain admonitions are given to the Defendant after which the Court is satisfied and the gavel bangs down with the sentence being a done deal.
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:05 PM
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“But he was high on drugs” usually comes across as an excuse. It’s a lame excuse, legally speaking. Can drugs diminish your capacity? Sure, but in the post Say No culture, it is usually seen as something that a person chose to do - that person chose to put drug into his system instead of anything else he could have chosen to do. He has to live with the consequences. Courts and juries and the families of murdered victims do not like the “but drugs” excuse.

First offender status, as CenTex says, was why CM was taken off the table and why he was given A diminutive sentence instead of LWOP. Had he been given 40-30-20 years, you’d probably be saying and feeling the same things. Had he been given 60-70-80 years, you’d probably be saying and feeling the same thing. The question is what is the value of a life in terms of time in prison. The victim's family is feeling just as cheated as you and probably resents the fact that you can still talk to your son, visit your son, and have him as part of your family. Despite that anger and resentment, they allowed the state to negotiate a plea where he has a chance to get out without a toe tag.

You are in mourning atm. You are mourning your expectations of the next 25 years of your son's life - the job he’d have, the spouse, the kids, the celebrations, the milestones, and even the common griefs of life that you expected to experience with him over the next 25 years. It’s sinking in, and it sucks. You are probably going to expend more tears in the coming months than you thought possible, and that’s after going through the sadness of his arrest.

As to a gratitude letter to the judge and the prosecutor - I’d hold off until things have settled a bit for you and you feel you are on a more even keel.

Your son, otoh, needs to start working now towards his parole resume. CenTex gave some great advice regarding a Victim Services. Victims these days have a lot of say not only in how much time a person gets, but whether they get parole. Some victims families attend or reach out to every parole board that an inmate may face and oppose release. He has a chance to prevent this by going through Texas's version of victim impact and reconciliation.

The rest of his resume consists of everything he does to make them know that he is a good risk for parole. This means doing his work - getting and staying sober and participating in all counseling programs and meetings dealing with addiction. It means working on his education, his job skills, and engaging in all of the programming he possibly can so that he has certificates, degrees, awards and the like to show the parole board.

It also means as few write-ups as possible, not getting involved in gangs, not getting tattoos, not popping positive on a UA. Good prison etiquette will keep him out of a lot of trouble and he cannot go looking for it.

You can help him. Know that you are mourning his life at the same time he is mourning his life. It is quite common for a person sentenced to such a long term in prison to get depressed and angry. Both are very dangerous, not just to his health and welfare, but his eventual application for parole. You need to support him emotionally, encourage him to create a life for himself in prison - it’s just a crap job that he has to do for the next 25 years. He needs to treat it like a job, create relationships with people trying to improve their lives, help others whom he can help, and realize that he can have a very positive impact on his world even if this isnt how he intended to spend 25 years of his life.

Encourage him to get involved in positive things. Encourage him to address his issues. Encourage him to exercise, eat well, go to sleep at the same time, and talk about the fact that he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t get angry and depressed once this settles a bit. Remind him that emotions and feelings are just emotions and feelings - he doesn’t have to do anything as a result of them.

It’s going to take a while for both of you to settle into your new lives. It’s not fun, but the journey can be worth the effort placed into it.
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