April 4, 2007

Shaquanda Cotton Case

Why was a 14-yr old girl sentenced for up to seven years in detention for shoving a hall monitor?

DemocracyNow reports,

Texas Releases Teenager Jailed for Shoving School Aide
In Texas, state officials have decided to release a 15-year-old girl who was serving a seven-year prison sentence for shoving a teacher's aide in her school hallway. Shaquanda Cotton was released on Sunday after spending a year in a prison. Her release came after weeks of protests over her sentence. Supporters say Cotton was unfairly punished because she is African-American and because of her mother's previous involvement in a group that fought discrimination against black students. Shaquanda, who had no prior criminal record, was convicted on one count of assaulting a public servant last year. The teacher's aide was not injured and the incident's details are under dispute. The judge in the case -- Chuck Superville of Lamar County -- has been accused of double-standards after he sentenced a fourteen-year old white arsonist to probation. The head of the state's juvenile prison system has also announced plans to review the sentences of all 4,700 juveniles in state custody.

Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville sentenced her to "until she meets state rehabilitation standards or reaches her 21st birthday." [1]

"Dennis Eichelbaum, an attorney for the Paris school district, said the U.S.
Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has vindicated the district by finding no evidence of discrimination in three cases. Five other investigations remain open." [1]

Follow-up - April 12, 2007

Ran across the following that might be of interest:

Judge Superville explains his thoughts on verdict of 14 year old’s case in Paris Texas


1. "Uproar over Texas teen's imprisonment," by Paul J. Weber, Associated Press (Tue Mar 27, 200 9:20 PM ET).

Wikipedia on Shaquanda_Cotton


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