O.K., I don’t know why I watched 10 minutes of the movie “Home Alone” the other day, but I did. I watched the scene where one of the burglars–the skinny one–decides to flood the homes the rob. They call themselves the “Wet Bandits.” I don’t know much more than that, because I promptly changed the channel.
But now real life “Wet Bandit” Colton Harris-Moore was caught in a heroic string of thefts and burglaries. He committed these crimes barefoot. He even left chalk outlines of bare feet at his crime scenes.
Better yet, once in jail, he bragged to his friends that the prosecution were fools and that he would get through the process without penalty. What an idiot.
As a result, the federal judge in Seattle had little patience for Mr. Harris-Moore. He was sentenced to the very maximum the judge could sentence him. Whoops.
There is a concept in sentencing law called mitigation. When criminal defense lawyers represent criminal defendants, it is very important to lay a framework for the judge to see that there are exceptional circumstances that warrant a reduced sentence. These “mitigating factors” include age, acceptance of responsibility, restitution and all other facts that help explain criminal conduct.
Most 20 year olds who get caught doing something incredibly stupid–like going on a robbery spree–wise up pretty quick. Most young men are able to show some remorse and understanding that they erred. Not Harris-Moore.
A good criminal defense attorney should have been able to get a slightly reduced sentence from the maximum. But no matter how good the lawyer, a criminal defendant must play along. Sending emails criticizing the prosecution is a bad move, no matter how good your legal representation.
Clearly somebody sent the defendant a message that he needed to clean up his act. The young man did send the judge and prosecution an email apologizing for his actions. Apparently the judge saw this email as too little, too late.
Criminal defense attorney Nick Alcock.
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