Chittlin's and Chopsticks

Writer and mother, Terris McMahan Grimes, the Mother From Another Continent, an her friends share their slighty off kilter parenting views and their takes on a whole lot of other things.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Criminalization of Children?

A Paris, Texas resident took the Free Shaqaunda movement to task for claiming or assuming Paris, Texas is racist. In a post to this blog, the commenter disagreed that the harshness of Shaquanda's sentence was due to her race, rather it was due to the criminalization of children in the wake of Columbine and 9/11.

Read the comment excerpted below, click on the link , and tell me your thoughts.

If you want to see where a huge portion of the problem comes from, try checking www.texaszerotolerance.comand click on their link of reported abuse. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of cases of children who have been criminalized for what would have been considered normal behavior prior to Columbine and 9/11. Shaquanda's case is just another example of a political system that holds school children to higher behavioral standards than the adults. She deserves a break, and I think community service would have been a much better choice for punishment.


At 3/29/2007 10:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

An adult who committed the same offense, and refused probation would have received a MORE SEVERE sentence.

ยง 12.34. Third Degree Felony Punishment

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.

(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

At 3/29/2007 10:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

FACT: This juvenile girl assaulted a teacher, who by Texas law is a public servant, in September 2005. It was witnessed first-hand by two other teachers who testified.

FACT: Before trial, the Lamar County and District Attorney's Office (prosecutors) offered a plea bargain reduction from felony to misdemeanor assault and 2 years juvenile probation, which the mother and defense attorney turned down.

FACT: The juvenile had a trial and was found adjudicated delinquent by a jury (we don't refer to juveniles as "guilty" or "not guilty" in Texas - it's "adjudicated" or "not adjudicated") in March of 2006.

FACT: After the jury adjudicated the juvenile as delinquent, the defense asked Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville to set punishment. The defense could have had a jury set punishment, but asked for the judge to decide.

FACT: This juvenile did NOT receive 7 years in prison. She was given an indeterminate sentence to the Texas Youth Commission, which means her conduct and cooperation with their behavior rehabilitation programs determines when she gets out. Minimum time to complete those programs is 9 months. She entered TYC in March 2006 and could have been out in December 2006 if she was being cooperative. But note that she never had to go to TYC in the first place: she could have gotten probation.

FACT: Texas statute under the Family Code (governing juveniles) left 2 options for the judge: 1) release the juvenile on probation back to a family member who verbally assures the judge that cooperative efforts to meet probation conditions will be met, and 2) sentence to the Texas Youth Commission. Often, parents are part of the problem and other family members step forward to offer to take the juvenile in their care and see to it probation conditions are met. NO other family members came forward and this juvenile's mother (Creola Cotton) told the judge she would not comply with conditions of probation. The judge's hands were tied by the law and he had no other choice but TYC.

FACT: School officials testified during the punishment phase that this juvenile had been a continuous discipline problem and that her mother continually defended her actions, telling her she did nothing wrong, and fought against disciplinary actions against her daughter for legitimate infractions.

FACT: The defense filed an appeal, fired the defense attorney trial attorney they hired (Wesley Newell of Dallas) and alleged ineffective assistance of counsel (saying the defense attorney didn't do his job well enough). The Court of Appeals in Texarkana ruled that the juvenile would not be released on bond pending their final appeal decision. That decision has not yet been handed down.

FACT: This juvenile would not be in TYC if her mother had agreed to cooperate with conditions of probation after the jury found her essentially guilty.

You will find these facts with additional comments at

At 4/01/2007 12:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can say what you want to but the sentence was TOO HARSH. I'm glad she's free.

How do you explain the other girl who was accused of arson getting probation?

At 4/01/2007 10:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

She accepted it. BTW, she violated the terms of her probation, and she's now in TYC.

At 4/03/2007 12:09 PM , Anonymous keto said...

Mr. FACTs, stop rationalizing blatant and disgusting racism. All your facts do is illustrate how the system has been rigged to turn a shover into a felon and to give a killer and an arsonist misdemeanor sentences.

At 4/03/2007 7:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize that it's hard to debate with someone who is using FACTS as the basis for their position, when you are not.

The problem with your claim of system that has been "rigged" to be full of "blatant and disgusting" racism, is that it is fundamentally flawed. The law makes no distinction for a person's ethnicity. It doesn't say that it is illegal for a black person to commit assault and legal for a white person to commit assault.

The problem for you is, I will continue to use FACTS as a basis for my positions.

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