Update- Teen who pushed hall monitor is freed

April 2, 2007 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

E. Texas girl’s sentence triggered protests, charges of racism
12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, April 1, 2007
BROWNWOOD, Texas – Shaquanda Cotton, whose yearlong stay in a juvenile prison for pushing a hall monitor brought out protesters claiming racial bias, was released Saturday, a state lawmaker said.

The 15-year-old was freed from the Ron Jackson Correctional Complex and picked up by her mother, said Rep. Harold Dutton, chairman of the House juvenile justice committee who lobbied state officials for Ms. Cotton’s release.

Mr. Dutton said Ms. Cotton and her family headed back to Paris, in East Texas, where there have been protests in the last two weeks calling for her release.

“She had a whole cavalry” when she was picked up, said Mr. Dutton, a Houston Democrat.

Attempts to reach the Cotton family by phone weren’t successful.

Ms. Cotton was sentenced on a felony count of shoving a teacher’s aide, who is classified as a public servant, at Paris High School in 2005. She had no prior criminal convictions.

Supporters say the fact that the same judge sentenced a white 14-year-old girl to probation for burning down her own house showed racial bias.

Her release was approved by Jay Kimbrough, the conservator appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to lead the state’s juvenile justice agency, which has been wracked by allegations of sexual abuse.

Prosecutors in Ms. Cotton’s case have maintained they tried to keep Ms. Cotton out of juvenile prison but say the judge in the case had no other options.

“We’re happy she’s home,” said Allan Hubbard, a spokesman for the Lamar County district attorney’s office. “We hope we never see her in the juvenile justice system again.”

The Associated Press

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Entry filed under: Society.

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