Texas Teenager with 47 IQ sentenced to 100 years in prison for fondling 6-year-old 16 replies

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Blank Stare

AE

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24th July 2004

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#1 9 years ago

Teen with 47 IQ gets 100 years in sex case - Crime & courts- msnbc.com

PARIS, Texas - A teenager who has profound mental disabilities was sentenced to 100 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in a sex abuse case involving his 6-year-old neighbor. Aaron Hart, 18, of Paris, was arrested and charged after a neighbor found him fondling her stepson in September. The teen pleaded guilty to five counts, including aggravated sexual assault and indecency by contact, and a jury decided his punishment. Lamar County Judge Eric Clifford decided to stack the sentences against Hart after jurors settled on two five-year terms and three 30-year terms, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday. The judge said neither he nor jurors liked the idea of prison for Hart but they felt there was no other option. Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here "In the state of Texas, there isn't a whole lot you can do with somebody like him," Clifford said. Diagnosed as mentally disabled Hart has an IQ of 47 and was diagnosed as mentally disabled as a child. He never learned to read or write and speaks unsteadily. Despite being a target of bullies, he was courteous, well-behaved and earned money by doing chores for neighbors, supporters said. His parents say he'd never acted out sexually. "He couldn't understand the seriousness of what he did," said his father, Robert Hart. "I never dreamed they would think about sending him to prison. When they said 100 years — it was terror, pure terror, to me." Jurors said they sent the judge notes during deliberations in February, asking about alternatives to prison, but didn't get a clear answer. They believed the judge would order concurrent sentences, jurors said. District Attorney Gary Young said he sympathized with Hart's situation but stands by his decision to prosecute on five counts. Prosecutors commonly pursue several charges for a single incident to see which the jury will support. Diversion program not an option Young said a diversion program was not an option since the law doesn't allow that for serious felonies. "I hope people will remember he committed a violent sexual crime against a little boy," he said. Hart's appellate attorney, David Pearson, said the court-appointed doctor did the bare minimum to assess competency and ran tests geared for mental illness, not mental retardation. He said an appeal will be filed.

Follow up story:

Spoiler: Show
TRIBUNE UPDATE Paris, Texas, judge denies new trial to man with IQ of 47 who molested boy Witnesses testify that Aaron Hart, 18, is mentally disabled By Howard Witt | Tribune correspondent April 8, 2009 PARIS, Texas — For more than six hours Tuesday, as a parade of witnesses testified about the severity of Aaron Hart's mental retardation and his inability to understand his legal rights, the 18-year-old defendant with an IQ of 47 sat silent and shackled in a chair, alternately fidgeting and making faces. But in the end, none of it was enough to persuade a judge in this small east Texas town to reconsider the 100-year prison sentence he gave Hart in February after Hart pleaded guilty to molesting a 6-year-old boy. Ruling in a case that critics of the local justice system say raises questions of fairness for the mentally challenged, Lamar County Judge Eric Clifford denied defense motions seeking either a new trial or a new sentencing hearing for Hart. His former special-education teacher testified that Hart functions below the level of a 1st grader. Last September, Hart confessed to police that he forced the boy to perform oral sex. The boy's stepmother had discovered them both behind a shed with their pants lowered. Hart's court-appointed attorney entered guilty pleas on his behalf to five related felony counts, a jury recommended multiple sentences and Clifford stacked the prison terms to run consecutively, for a total of 100 years. But Hart's appellate attorney, David Pearson, argued Tuesday that Hart had received ineffective legal assistance because his trial attorney had failed to present any expert testimony about Hart's mental functioning or his ability to comprehend the charges against him. "This case cried out for a mental health evaluation, to explain this disability to the judge and jury," Pearson told Clifford. "One of the features of people with this kind of mental retardation is they cannot appreciate degrees of wrongfulness." District Atty. Gary Young countered that a court-appointed expert had determined that Hart was legally competent and that a jury had determined he was a danger to the community. "Everyone feels sorry for Mr. Hart," Young told the judge. "The question is, do you leave him on the street or send him to prison?" Clifford, who last week said he had agonized over the case, took only a few seconds to issue his ruling. "Irregardless of whether he understood his Miranda rights, the evidence I have seen is overwhelming that he committed the offense," Clifford said. "The court finds that allegations of incompetence of counsel are unfounded." Hart will remain in jail pending the outcome of an appeal likely to be heard in the fall. Hart's parents say he has been raped repeatedly by other inmates since he was first arrested last September.

What do you all think of this?

On one hand I fully understand and agree with the judge, Hart did the crime and by doing so probably fucked someone's life up permanently. On the other hand, you can't sentence someone with such a low IQ to a federal prison like that. If he is functioning on a first grade level there is no way he will even understand why he is there.

Think about it, this guy is basically a blow up doll in prison.

Hart's parents say he has been raped repeatedly by other inmates since he was first arrested last September.

Obviously he should be kept from Children, and possibly put into a minimum security jail for a while, but even real pedophiles get lesser sentences than this. If he was in NY he would probably be in a mental ward, but I guess you get thrown into gen pop in Texas even if you are retarded.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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26th May 2003

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#2 9 years ago

The question isn't whether he's morally responsible, no-one is. The question is whether he is dangerous, and the answer is yes. The mind of a child, in a child, is generally a harmless thing and necessary on the road to maturity; but he has the mind of a child in an adult body, and will never be able to reach that maturity. He is and will always be a danger to those around him. Prison exists to restrain dangers to society, either through reeducation or through segregation. The first of those doesn't look like a possibility, leaving only the latter as an option that will have to be extended forever.

Ideally he should have been put in some form of mental ward instead, which would have served the purpose of seperating him from society, and if the judge had the power to hand down that sort of sentence it should have been done. But from the sound of it the system in Texas is kinda screwy in that regard leaving the only just option for the judge in deciding on the punishment to imprison him effectively forever.




Von Mudra

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25th September 2004

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#3 9 years ago

Agreed, he should be put into a mental ward.




TodtheWraith

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3rd March 2008

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#4 9 years ago
Nemmerle;4923920The question isn't whether he's morally responsible, no-one is. The question is whether he is dangerous, and the answer is yes. The mind of a child, in a child, is generally a harmless thing and necessary on the road to maturity; but he has the mind of a child in an adult body, and will never be able to reach that maturity. He is and will always be a danger to those around him. Prison exists to restrain dangers to society, either through reeducation or through segregation. The first of those doesn't look like a possibility, leaving only the latter as an option that will have to be extended forever.

:agreed




AlDaja

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5th September 2006

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#5 9 years ago

47 IQ huh…just described 50% of Americans I think. Another reason not to commit a crime in Texas. But seriously this guy probably could have been evaluated a bit better and determined to be a little off the norm, but whatever. A major imbalance in our justice system; steal a loaf of bread get the firing squad, murder someone(s) (OJ) and get to play golf in Florida. :beer:




Octovon

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5th August 2003

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#6 9 years ago

An IQ of 47, guilty of fondling a kid and he's not on deathrow in Texas? I'm shocked. For a state renowned for frying retards and minorities, I'm surprised he's only got a life sentence.

In all seriousness it sounds like a really shoddy mental evaluation on the part of the court appointed fellow. From the sounds of it, this guy can barely understand what he did let alone why or whether it was right or wrong and somehow he was judged to be competent enough for trial (seriously??). I won't deny the guy is probably dangerous or a possible threat to the community, but I gotta feel bad for the guy, facing life behind bars for something he probably doesn't remember or understands. Prison will only mess him up worse, he should placed somewhere better suited to his particular disabilities.




Captain Fist

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#7 9 years ago

This story is really bizarre.




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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9th December 2003

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#8 9 years ago

Blank Stare;4923912

"Everyone feels sorry for Mr. Hart," Young told the judge. "The question is, do you leave him on the street or send him to prison?"

No, the question is "Do you leave him on the street or do you put him in some sort of institution to protect him fromhimself and to protect "the society?

So he got a 100 year sentence for forcing a kid into oral sex? Was it "just" that or more? Obviously such a thing is a crime but I don't quite understand how so many penalties can be stacked together, by those accounts you'd expect rapist to get 300 year sentences, murders to serve get 800-1.000 years in prison etc. :uhm:

Anyway, sounds like the Texas legal system is a steaming pile of shit dating from the middle ages. The teenager should have be put in a mental ward. There they can can give him the approperiate treatment and what seems the best balance of freedom versus restriction (some patients should be very heavily restricted, other's a bit less and some are can do with a great deal of liberty).

Texax should get it's legal system fixed so that people can be dealt with approperiately and fairly. I don't quite understand how the teen was said to be sane enough for trial. You'd think that they could "just" conclude this teen can't be put up for trial but that he clearly needs to be put in a mental ward instead. :clueless:




Biiviz

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29th February 2004

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#9 9 years ago

Blank Stare;4923912What do you all think of this?

On one hand I fully understand and agree with the judge, Hart did the crime and by doing so probably fucked someone's life up permanently. On the other hand, you can't sentence someone with such a low IQ to a federal prison like that. If he is functioning on a first grade level there is no way he will even understand why he is there.

Think about it, this guy is basically a blow up doll in prison.

Give him a pistol and one bullet, Jesus Christ this kid is never going to live anything near a decent life after this. He should never have been sent to jail in the first place, instead to some kind of rehabilitation, he probably didn't even understand what he did to the other kid.

I would gladly see this kid put down to stop him from being tortured any further. His life is already beyond repair.




Warborg

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2nd August 2002

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#10 9 years ago

This is silly, yet a 35 old sex offender with an IQ over 100 only gets a few years.

Send him to a mental ward.

Hart's parents say he has been raped repeatedly by other inmates since he was first arrested last September.

Anyone else and I would be laughing, but this is sad




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