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After 15-hour hearing, no jail time for Porter

Any thoughts on this?

an Associated Press report 11/05/05
related story: Tears, fireworks at Jennifer Porter's sentencing hearing (11/04/05)

Jennifer Porter listens to testimony during the 15-hour-long hearing Friday.

TAMPA - A former elementary school dance teacher was sentenced to two years of house arrest early Saturday for speeding away after a car hit and killed two young brothers.

Jennifer Porter pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the March 2004 accident that killed Bryant Wilkins, 13, and his 3-year-old brother Durontae Caldwell. An 8-year-old sister and 2-year-old brother were injured.

Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles said he weighed Porter's clean police record and the "extreme trauma" she endured during the crime in sentencing her to "community custody," which he described as "a stricter form of probation "” essentially house arrest."

Porter was also sentenced to three years probation, 500 hours of community service benefiting children and psychiatric treatment.

She could have faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted at trial, and was previously offered a plea deal that would have sent her to prison for three years. But her attorney said Porter decided to plead guilty and hoped the judge would impose a lighter sentence.

During a long sentencing hearing, the boys' mother, Lisa Wilkins, sobbed and urged state Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles to sentence Porter to the maximum three years.

"I want her to be punished," Wilkins said. "I want her to go to prison. I want her to see what it's like to lose someone."

Wilkins declined comment after the sentence was handed down at about 1:30 a.m. "” as did prosecutor Kim Seace and Porter's attorney, Barry Cohen.

Porter is white and her victims were black, and some in the black community say she has been treated leniently because of her race and economic background.

The children were struck by Porter as they returned home from a community center near the newly opened elementary school where Porter was working.

She drove to her parents' home and did not come forward for five days. She said a white van had struck the children first, throwing them into her car, but investigators concluded the van was not involved.

She has said she did not stop because she was too scared.

Medical examiner reports said the boys died instantly. Witnesses said the 3-year-old was dragged about 150 feet.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office received some complaints that Porter was not facing more serious charges. But officials said to warrant a vehicular homicide charge, prosecutors would have had to prove at least two violations, other than leaving the scene.

Investigators estimated that she was driving 6 to 10 mph over the posted 30 mph speed limit, but they could not find a second traffic violation.
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Investigators estimated that she was driving 6 to 10 mph over the posted 30 mph speed limit, but they could not find a second traffic violation.

Um, is running someone over not a traffic violation??

I'm not crazy about locking up people for revenge (or in general, really), but I tend to think that if prosecutors want to find a suitable number of charges for a particular punishment, they are more than capable of stacking them up.
'The law is the Law'
But this is not the law'
The sentence, does not fit the crime.

Mr Wilkins should take away one of her hands and destroyed both of her knees so that she is never whole again. EVEn with new medical procedures and body parts.
Burn down her house, so that her memories are gone.

Justice is served when the Victims are equal and made whole.

"Patience has it limits. TAke it to far, and it's cowardice">>G.Jackson
Rather than make this a racial issue, why is that, that is, if it hasn't been pursued already, that no one is filing a civil claim in behalf of the Wilkin's family, against Jennifer Porter for wrongful death?

I gather from the article that Jennifer Porter was on duty as a Tampa Unified School District, public school teacher. The next question.......

...Why is it that no attorney is assisting the Wilkins family heirs of the boys killed, in a civil action for wrongful death against the Tampa Unified school district, Jennifer Porter's employer?

This would be an opportunity for a competent Black attorney to file a civil suit against the Tampa Unified School District and Jennifer Porter. Whether this was a racial incident or not, turning this set of circumstances into a racial incident is not productive!

....Case in point, although Robert Blake was acquitted of murder in his criminal trial, Blake now is facing civil lawsuit for wrongful death, to which slim chance exists where Robert Blake will escape being forced to pay for the damages, as in his criminal trial.

Clearly this would indeed be good cause for a wrongful death claim!

Jennifer Porter confessed to striking the children, as a means of damage control. When you consider Jennifer Porter's response to confess to this accident, this would not be considered an act of using her economic status to seek leniancy, or turn this into some racially motivated incident.

......But officials said to warrant a vehicular homicide charge, prosecutors would have had to prove at least two violations, other than leaving the scene.

The U.S. District Judge Emmett Lamar Battles, ruled according to the facts as presented. The only recourse for damages at this point would be a civil lawsuit for wrongful death!

...It would not be good, for the Black community to take the law into their own hands, through an act of violence. It would be far more productive for the Wilkin's family to seek restitution in a civil claim for damages, with or without the support of the Black community. In many instances, where the case for wrongful death is cut and dry, the dispute is settled out of court, to the satisfaction of both parties to the litigation. In the event the plaintiff is not satisfied, the only recourse is to continue on with a civil trial.
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Originally posted by ronin10:
I'm not trying to turn this into a racial situation but do you feel that if the driver/Jennifer Porter had been a black male/female and the kids that were killed had been white, she would of received the same punishment?


How dare you call European American justice into question.

Always playing the 'race card'.


Besides, it was dark.


Jim Chester
Well, if this case cannot be appealed, I hope that the faimily of these child have the good sense to file a civl suit and the hell out of her, the school, and any and everyone that can be tacked onto the lawsuit.

She was only attempting to cover up her dirty deeds and should have gotten jail time even for that, let alone her actually running down children and just leaving them to die in the road; if she really kept going out of some so-called 'fear' she would have contacted the police, call 911 immediately upon getting away from whatever she supposedly 'feared' so much----

I hope she is sued civilly and part of the suit should be a damand that her teaching liscense be permanently revoked and that she is never to have any contact with children ever again for as long as she lives.

She should have to "take responsibility for her actions." She should be "held accountable" for her actions.
Originally posted by ronin10:

I'm not trying to turn this into a racial situation but do you feel that if the driver/Jennifer Porter had been a black male/female and the kids that were killed had been white, she would of received the same punishment?
Well, though the jurisdictions are different... here's something to compare it to:
Driver In Hit-And-Run That Killed Boy Sentenced
Man Sentenced To Up To 15 Years In Prison

A driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash was sentenced on Tuesday, Local 4 reported.

Cornell Jackson, 22, is headed to prison for up to 15 years in connection with the death of 8-year-old Devon Walton.

Devon was riding his bike on Mother's Day near his grandmother's house in Detroit when he was struck by the vehicle, Local 4 reported. Witnesses said the driver ran a red light. The boy was apparently pinned underneath the car, and was dragged about 175 feet.

Witnesses said the driver did not stop, even though the boy's bicycle remained lodged underneath the car. The bicycle was found about a half-mile from the crash site, Local 4 reported.

***Jackson turned himself in to authorities two days after the crash occurred.***

He was charged with homicide with a motor vehicle, fleeing the scene of an accident and driving without a license. In a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of driving with a suspended license causing death.

Here's a site that chronicles Hit & Run fatalities:
Woman Guilty Of Murdering Man In Windshield Death
Chante Mallard Hit Homeless Man, Drove Home With Him In Windshield

POSTED: 12:20 p.m. EDT June 26, 2003

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A jury in Fort Worth Thursday convicted a woman of murder after a homeless man died while stuck in her car's windshield.

Jurors also convicted Chante Mallard of tampering with evidence.
Chante Mallard during sentencing hearing
Share Your Thoughts
Sentence Fit The Crime?
Agree With Verdict?

The Fort Worth woman cast her eyes downward after the verdict was returned following about one hour of deliberations. The body of Gregory Biggs was discovered in a Fort Worth park in October of 2001.

Testimony indicated Mallard struck the man as he walked along a road, then drove home and parked in her garage -- leaving Biggs in the windshield.

Experts say Biggs likely would have survived if he had received immediate medical help.

Mallard was arrested several months later after police received a tip about the incident being talked about at a party. She faces up to life in prison.

Mallard never testified. The defense claims the death was a freak accident.

Earlier, Mallard's attorney asked jurors not to be swayed by sympathy or emotion, or by media coverage of the case.

Attorney Jeff Kearney conceded that Mallard's failure to call for help caused the man's death, but he said that's not murder. He said murder involves an act, not a failure to act.

The defense has said it was an accident, and not murder, when Mallard hit Gregory Biggs with her car, and then drove home with his mangled body lodged in the car.

Chante Mallard listens to closing arguments during her murder trial Medical examiners gave just slightly differing accounts, ranging from one to two hours -- of how long Biggs may have lived in the car, parked in the woman's garage. And they differed on whether he was conscious and able to speak to Mallard. But they agreed that he could have survived with medical treatment.

Wednesday, both prosecutors and defense lawyers rested their cases after a battle between medical examiners.

The Tarrant County medical examiner testified for the prosecution, saying that Biggs would have been able to talk after the incident, but would have been in excruciating pain.

That testimony conflicted with the single defense witness -- a Bexar County medical examiner who said Biggs was likely unconscious after his head hit the windshield.

"The windshield usually does not come out ... 200 pounds of pressure, head used as a battering ram out the windshield ... it's going to give you a concussion, it's going to knock you out because a windshield is designed to take such forces," Bexar County Medical Examiner Dr. Vincent Di Maio said.

Mallard, 27, was not called to testify during the trial.

"No justice, no peace" or at least be white.

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