Unconstitutionally over sentenced by the State of Oklahoma

Unconstitutionally over sentenced by the State of Oklahoma

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Rebecca Franco Howard started this petition to State of Oklahoma

 

January 3rd, 2003 The New Year had just come and gone. LaRoy like most other young adults in his community had been celebrating the holiday in addition it was days away from the first birthday of his only daughter. This should have been a joyous time. However, for LaRoy times were hard, trying to cope with finding a new job; life had led him down a path straight into the streets.  On the day of the incident in question LaRoy was out  and bumped into a neighborhood associate who offered a ride on this cold winter day. This turned out to be the worst ride of his life. The two men who lived nearby offered to give LaRoy a  ride, who would later be named as co-defendants. The passenger  was in agreement already with the driver to commit the crimes that would be the demise of LaRoy. After entering the car, some time had passed and  the driver presented his idea of robbing a local business. LaRoy respectfully declined to join the two men. However, he was pressured and felt compelled to do as he was told to avoid further issues with the them. In addition, LaRoy had succumbed to the mercy of illegal substances on this day; as most other people in his neighborhood had as well. Thus, becoming a product of his environment.

                                Fast forward: January 10th, 2003 LaRoy was arrested and booked into the Oklahoma County Jail where he would spend the next three years of his life. Sporadic court dates were anxiously awaited for the next couple of years until finally LaRoy’s court appointed attorney Joan Lopez urged him to accept a blind plea that the prosecutor was offering. The prosecutor reassured LaRoy that the judge typically agrees with the recommendation and he would be safe in accepting the deal. LaRoy was young and had no knowledge of the law. Therefore, he depended on his attorney to navigate him in the right direction.  The deal was that if LaRoy accepted the blind plea the D.A would recommend a 35-year prison term. However, the Judge saw fit to give LaRoy triple that amount despite the signed agreement. Almost immediately LaRoy realized he had been coerced into an agreement that was not in his favor and as he turned away from the judges bench where the documentation had been signed LaRoy informed his attorney of his decision to withdraw his plea. LaRoy followed up with Ms. Lopez after the hearing and at that time she stated that she did not do as he asked furthermore Ms. Lopez informed him the time frame to do so had passed. Now he was no longer able to withdraw from the agreement because of his insufficient council had failed to represent him to the best of her ability.

For the charges of Assault and Battery Case # CF-2003-422 Count #2; Case# CF-2003-423 Counts 4 and 8 there is a max amount of years he should have been given says the law Per  O.S.S. 21 Subsection 645 Assault and Battery with a dangerous weapon reads as follows. “Upon conviction of a felony it is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed ten years, or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year.”  For the 3 charges, he received two 25-year sentences and one 10-year sentence of .

Furthermore,  for the charge eluding a police officer he was sentenced to 5 times the max allowable sentence. Per O.S.S. 21 Subsection 540A Eluding a police officer Subsection C states this is punishable by imprisonment for not less than one year and not more than 5 years and a fine. LaRoy received 25 years for this. This theme of being over sentenced continues with O.S.S. Subsection 741 for the kidnapping charges a term not to exceed 20 years. In case #CF-2003-423 Counts #3, #5 and #6 he received 25-year sentences for each count which is 5-

years over the max allowable sentence. The judge continued to extend excessive time regarding his sentencing. O.S.S. Subsection 1283 " for the charge of Firearm Possession." O.S.S. 21 Subsection 1284 "Penalty for 1283 states  punishable by imprisonment for a period not less than one year no more than ten years" regardless of the letter of the law the judge decided that LaRoy should be sentenced in Case #CF- 2003-422 Count #3 for possession of a firearm A.F.C.F. to a term of incarceration of twenty years. Double the max allowable punishment.

The single instance that his charges fall within the allowable range of punishment is regarding the robbery charges. According to O.S.S. 21 Subsection 798 robbery in the first degree is “punishable by imprisonment for not less than ten years." For case # CF-2003-423 Count #2 LaRoy was charged with First Degree Robbery and received a sentence of 25 years.  O.S.S. 21 Subsection 800 “Robbery Conjointly  by two or more persons; such persons shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than 5 years and no more than 50 years,"  With such a wide range of discretion with regards to this sentencing matrix 5 times the min allowable sentence is somewhat excessive. Especially considering the excessive amounts already given,

Even O.S.S. 21 Subsection 801 "robbery with a firearms” if any person or persons attempts to rob or robs any place of business shall be guilty of a felony therefore, is punishable by imprisonment for life or a period not less than 5 years" In Case #CF-2003-422 Count #1 and Case# CF-2003-423 Count #2 for both convictions LaRoy received 25 years each, which again is 5 times the min allowable sentence for this crime.

LaRoy has taken full responsibility for his actions. Had he known that by signing the blind plea was gifting the rest of his life to the OKDOC, he would never signed it. Had he known his legal counsel was not giving him productive advice he would have sought council elsewhere. But now here we are 18 years later, he is now 41. The  naive kid he once was no longer stands before you. He has become a mature man of God and has seen the error or his ways. We are simply seeking justice for the excessive sentencing he was given. LaRoy is now 18 years wiser his wife, children, grandchildren and a host of family, friends and a welcoming community waiting for him to come home. I  would like to thank you for taking time to read this story and understanding the injustices served to LaRoy. I hope to see your signature in support of justice for LaRoy. Please help him come home.

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