Upon my son's sentencing the jury and Prosecuting Attorney were ill-informed of the law. Shannon entered the system 13 years ago, receiving a sentence of 90 years. The jury saw it suitable, under the direction of the Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney, to sentence Shannon at this length because of his Juvenile priors that had already been served through boot camp.
Shannon was handed a 60 year sentence for Aggravated robbery after the PA explained that it would immediately be cut in half upon entering the system, then she explained it would be decreased, even further, with good behavior. For a normal Class Y felony of this type sentcing ranges 10-40 years. Juvenile record aside, and with good behavior, and by the mathematics of the Prosecuting Attorney, my son would have only spent 10 years in prison for this charge. This was explained to the jury, indepth, by the PA. Unfortunately the PA was ill-informed as Class Y felonies require a mandatory 70% of time spent. This was in no way explained to the jury. This means my son will have to be incarcerated 42 years for this charge because the PA didn't allow the jury to "read the fine print"
The other count that Shannon received was for 30 years for theft of property of less than $600. Once again, through the math of the Prosecuting Attorney, the jury was under the assumption that Shannon would only spend a third of this time in prison with good behavior.
On Septemeber of 2000 a friend of Shannons (involved in the Aggravated Robbery) was coached into "giving" the police someone else, a co-conspirator. A statement was made by this friend explained that Shannon completed the above crimes and he was the driver. This friend was not charged as a co-conspirator and received no sentencing for these crimes, but was imprisoned on unrelated charges. On October of 2001 Shannons friend recanted all previous statements. He explained to the court that the accusations made during this statement were completely fabricated and that he only made them because he thought it would better his situation and his current sentencing.
The Prosecuting Attorney explained the difference between concurrent and consecutive sentencing. The jury chose to run the sentencing consecutively. The PA explained that the numbers she gave for sentencing to the jury were "easier to calculate and understand in regards to reduction" but the jury ran with those numbers. My son has currently spent part of his adolescence and a good portion of his adult life incarerated for crimes that bar no evidence, other than a witnesses completely recanted statement, and another witnesses inability to provide an accurate description in, and out of, the courtroom. Its time to quit wasting tax payer money and let my boy come home.
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