Showing remorse and contrition would seem to be good behaviors for criminal defendants to display in court, especially if those feelings are truly from the heart. That’s no guarantee of a lighter sentence, but there is nothing to be gained by being disrespectful or treating the court proceedings as something of a joke. One can only make matters worse for oneself by so doing.
This is just what recently happened in a courtroom where a man had pleaded guilty to murdering a woman’s son. The grieving mother was given the opportunity to read a statement to the court as the killer watched on. Instead of showing remorse, he displayed something very different.
The guilty party was given the opportunity to receive a reduced sentence under a plea deal in return for entering a guilty plea. Things went wrong when the murderer smiled and laughed at the mother as her statement was read to the court. At that point his jovial attitude ended as the judge stated that he was considering rejecting the plea deal and sentencing the killer to life in prison.
“Grieving mother Karen Klee had the opportunity to read her impact statement in a Michigan courtroom Monday — just feet away from the 17-year-old who pleaded guilty to murdering her son, Ann Arbor high schooler Jordan Klee.
“But Klee’s mother — openly weeping — had her cousin read her statement instead, MLive reported.
“Yet Danta Wright — handcuffed and looking like he couldn’t care less — just smiled, shook his head from side to side and apparently even let loose with some laughter as Klee’s impact statement went on.”
The judge was not amused. In fact, he announced that he was considering something he had never before done.
“And after a handful of seemingly nonchalant words from the defendant, Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge David S. Swartz took him to task, MLive said.
“‘[W]atching you sit there, smile and laugh and shake your head like this was no big deal, I’m very tempted to just say I’m not going to accept this sentence agreement,’ Swartz told Wright, adding he’d never rejected a plea deal before.
“‘We’ll go to trial, and if you’re convicted of felony murder, you’ll go to prison for the rest of your life,’ he continued, the outlet said. ‘That means you’ll die there. That’s what I’m tempted to do.'”
Suddenly things were no longer so amusing to the killer. Perhaps the thought of spending the rest of his life in prison, dying there as an old man did not appeal to him.
“Then Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney John Vella asked for time to consult the Klee family as to whether they wanted the judge to reject the plea deal and instead go to trial, the outlet reported.
“The meeting took an hour.
“But when courtroom proceedings resumed, Vella said the family wanted Swartz to keep the plea deal so they could move on and try to forgive Wright, MLive said.”
Going through the ordeal of a trial would have been very taxing on the bereaved family, and moving on, including with the hope of forgiving the killer, was the high road for them to take.
Nevertheless, the judge remained unimpressed with this young killer’s behavior and attitude.
“Repeating his concern with Wright’s degree of remorse, Swartz sentenced him to 23 to 50 years in prison for armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and second-degree murder, the outlet said.”
That should give Mr. Wright plenty of time to consider the horrific crime he committed, and just how funny he thought the court proceedings were. His sense of humor is likely to take a considerable hit as he considers the decades of incarceration that face him.
Source: The Blaze