Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Judge Lubet Will Not Be Manipulated

Lester Williams (case 2009CF66) was charged with Burglary and Petit Theft after breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home and stealing a Nintendo game system. In spite of a "no contact" order, Williams has contacted his victim (with whom he has a child) from the jail.

After playing "cat and mouse" with the court system today - first telling the judge he would plead guilty, then demanding a trial, then promising to plead, then demanding a trial - I saw him plead guilty after jury selection. He made demands that his victim come into the courtroom (she was not required to do so) in an effort to intimidate her. Only after a jury was selected and he knew that she was waiting to testify did he accept the State's offer of 10 months jail and 1 year probation. He scored 33 months in the Department of Corrections based on his criminal history.

The defendant asked the judge about his "parental rights" (wanting to know about his child's life & wanting to see his child), yet since he wasn't married to the child's mother and he hasn't filed a paternity action to secure those rights legally, he really has none at this point. Judge Lubet explained this to him. As is often the case with abusers, they use the children as a means to continue to manipulate and control the other parent.

The judge also explained that if the defendant contacts the victim, either from jail or once he's on probation, he would find him in contempt of court and sentence him to another 6 months incarceration. Judge Lubet was very forceful in his admonitions and CourtWatch applauds his concern for the victim.

We also applaud the performance of Assistant State Attorney Camelia Coward, who effectively advocated for the victim in this case and Assistant Public Defender Bartley Vickers, who went to great lengths to explain to his client what "no contact" entails - even asking the deputies to hold him downstairs so he could meet with him before sending him back to the jail.

The only thing about this hearing that disappointed me was that the State's offer was only 10 months in jail. From reviewing this defendant's criminal history, CourtWatch thinks it should have been more (the maximum would have been 15 years in prison).

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