If You Thought Your Mobile Phone Contract Was Bad... This Guy Got 60 Years In Jail...

from the phones-in-jail dept

It's no secret that prisons are having a tough time stopping inmates from getting contraband mobile phones, which they use to communicate with others, and often to continue committing crimes. So, in an effort to send a message to prisoners, one Texas inmate who was caught with a mobile phone just had an extra 60 years tacked onto his sentence. It's unclear from all the reporting what the guy's initial sentence was, but no matter how you add it up, it's difficult to see how 60 years in prison for a contraband mobile phone fits into the confines of a sentence that matches the crime.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:01pm

    "It's unclear from all the reporting what the guy's initial sentence was..."

    You should read the original article from the Palestine Herald, not the poorly written blurb from Gizmodo.

    The original article makes it clear that this sentence was not "tacked on" to his prior conviction. But that this conviction for having a cell phone in a correctional facility was a completely separate charge.

    Further, the reason why the sentence of 60 years was given was also clearly explained in the original article. The normal range of punishment for having a cell phone in a correctional facility is 2 to 10 years. However, because this particular defendant had prior felonies and was considered a habitual offender under the law, the sentencing range increased to 25 years to 99 years or life.

    You might think that increasing the penalties on a person merely because he committed prior felonies is unfair. You may be right. But that's the law in every state in this country.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    the difference between good source material and rumors and half stories from blogs

     

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  3.  
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    richard, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    it is insane

    hey come on,60 years is too much. Taking everything from a person for communicating? Even killers might be getting less sentence.Laws are for making human lifes better and not taking it away?

     

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  4.  
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    Luís Carvalho, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    I would like to read the oppinion of those with life sentences to that punnishment...

    Wait, I can hear it... LOL LOL LOL

     

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  5.  
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    Mike (profile), May 18th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re:

    The original article makes it clear that this sentence was not "tacked on" to his prior conviction. But that this conviction for having a cell phone in a correctional facility was a completely separate charge.

    I read the original article, but I can't find where it says what the original sentence was. Am I missing it?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Re:

    The original article makes it clear that this sentence was not "tacked on" to his prior conviction.

    Umm, Mike didn't that it was tacked onto his prior conviction, but onto his sentence.

     

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  7.  
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    Matt, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    Re:

    agreed, the penalty is stupid from a financial perspective. For a guy who used cellphones we now have an additional expense of this individual for the rest of his/her life, and it will have 0 benefit from a correctional perspective.

    Sometimes people don't realize how much our laws need an overhaul.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Re: it is insane

    Even killers might be getting less sentence.

    This is Texas, where killers often get significantly less time than non-violent drug offenders. The criminal justice system is big business in Texas and they'll use any excuse they can to feed it.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re:

    For a guy who used cellphones we now have an additional expense of this individual for the rest of his/her life, and it will have 0 benefit from a correctional perspective.

    You don't understand the Texas prison system. It isn't about corrections at all. Yes, it's called the Department of Corrections, but that's just Orwellian double speak. The prison system in Texas is about money, and the more people they have in prison and the longer they keep them there, the more tax dollars they can justify taking to keep it going.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re:

    From the article:

    "In 1993, he was convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and sentenced to 25 years in TDCJ."

    Not sure if that is what he was still in prision for.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    I don't know about Texas, but here in Maryland a prisoner was just convicted for using a smuggled cellphone to order a hit on an informant. Illegal cellphones have become tools used to continue criminal enterprises while the leaders are incarcerated.

    It's gotten so bad here that our governor is trying to get permission from the FCC to jam cellphone signals inside the prisons!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, 25 years for car theft and now 60 for using a phone. God Bless Texas?

     

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  13.  
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    2cents, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Just a thought

    These are criminals, why should they be given the privilege to communicate via cell phone. They are suppose to be punished for breaking previous laws not put up in a free ride with extras.

     

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  14.  
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    Richard Wilson, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re:

    The only law that needs over hauling is to be able to make an example and hang him. As for as benefits for correctional facility is maybe a little less drugs will get in or not have to worry if weapons are hidden outside somewhere.

    Been there, done that

     

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  15.  
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    Richard Wilson, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:28pm

    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, 25 years for car theft and now 60 for using a phone. God Bless Texas?


    Don't spit on the sidewalk.

     

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  16.  
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    Stuart, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re:

    Wrong. There is a HUGE upside for the correctional perspective. At least the Correctional Union perspective. You wonder why so many things get you sooo long in prison? Look at who is to benefit from it.

     

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  17.  
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    John Spavin, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:59pm

    if everything's bigger in Texas...

    ...how come Texan judicial minds are so tiny? Have they lost their perspective? 60 years for possession of a cell phone is just crazy. I live a long way away from the US but I look in bewilderement at a judicial system that can impose such a silly sentence and see that it's only a generation away from being as unbalanced as the regimes of the mad mullahs who impose Sharia law on unfortunates in the middle east.

     

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  18.  
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    YouAreWrong, May 18th, 2009 @ 4:04pm

    the quote

    Here you go Mike:
    In 1989, Ross was convicted of burglary of a motor vehicle and in 1990, he was convicted of theft of an automobile. In 1993, he was convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and sentenced to 25 years in TDCJ.

    Because Ross was found to be a habitual offender, the range of punishment for having a cell phone in a correctional facility was 25 years to 99 years or life. Normally the range of punishment would be 2 to 10 years.

    After 30 minutes of deliberation the jury assessed his punishment at 60 years in TDCJ. The sentence is stacked on top of the one he currently is serving.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    Only one good thing

    Came from TX.. G. Bush!!! The village idiot has returned!!!

     

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  20.  
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    Greg G, May 18th, 2009 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Only one good thing

    Thanks for speaking, thereby proving to all that you are an idiot.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 4:59pm

    Texas - Paradise of Rich, White People

    He must have been poor, black, and retarded.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 5:17pm

    mike got lost reading it because there was no copyright or free music discussion in it.

     

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  23.  
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    Tgeigs, May 18th, 2009 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Texas - Paradise of Rich, White People

    No, then he'd have gotten the chair, no sponge.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 6:34pm

    Of course what he is doing time for is what the plea bargain turned into ...it could have been vehicular manslaughter, it could have been drug running, kidnapping, there is no way to know what he actually did without going into the court records ...quite often a plea is reached for the maximum time on a lesser charge. As for cell phones in prison, what are the chances there is a perfectly reasonable reason that this person had to bribe, pay, cheat, bully or otherwise go to the immense trouble of getting a phone for a legitimate use? When I was a prison guard we had a company that made furniture and inmates working a help desk phone bank who constantly were in trouble for stealing credit card numbers, threatening people who testified against them, scheming to escape, getting people to fall for them and bring them contraband during visitation. Nothing good can come of inmates having access to unmonitored phones, but bless all of you for thinking that these are delinquents who would use these devices for harmless fun. Without you idealists the world would be a depressing place to live indeed!

     

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  25.  
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    Tom Anderson, May 18th, 2009 @ 6:45pm

    poor security practices at prisons make them $1.8 million for their

    The prisons are loving this. Their security isn't good. They let a cellphone in, and they get a prisoner for 60 years. At 60 years x $28,000, the average price to keep a prisoner for a year in prison, that's about $1.8 million.

    The prisoner who got the phone gets the time, and the prison that allowed the phone to get in gets the money. That's not fair! US taxpayers are the fools.

     

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  26.  
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    Dan, May 18th, 2009 @ 8:45pm

    To hell with Texas session, we should expel Texas from the union for the good of all. Maybe when they evolve to civility we could reconsider.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Just a thought

    Actually you are incorrect, the reason you put criminals in a jail is not to punish them. The purpose is to hopefully one day rehabilitate them.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Techsupoort, May 19th, 2009 @ 12:41am

    RE:

    Wrong. There is a HUGE upside for the correctional perspective. At least the Correctional Union perspective. You wonder why so many things get you sooo long in prison? Look at who is to benefit from it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2009 @ 5:43am

    Re:

    And comments that prove nothing at all. If you want to toss such things around, how about giving proof? Specifically, proof of THIS blog doing that. Go ahead, we'll wait.

     

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  30.  
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    Idiot Basher, May 19th, 2009 @ 6:12am

    60 years?

    So, 60 years for having a phone. Let's look at that realistically. Rather he's a habitual criminal or not:


    Check out these maximum sentence guidelines:

    * Aggravated sexual assault of a minor - 20 yrs
    * Possessing child pornography - 20 yrs
    * Kidnapping 1st degree - 25 yrs
    * Kidnapping with a firearm - 25 yrs
    * Employing a minor in an obscene performance - 25 yrs
    * 1st Degree Sexual Assult (Rape) - 25 yrs
    * Murder - 60 yrs
    * Felony Murder - 60 yrs

    So killing someone is equal to having a phone in prison... um... SURE... and having a cell phone is worse than kidnapping, 1st degree kidnapping and having a kid do a porno movie?!

     

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  31.  
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    Tgeigs, May 19th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Re: 60 years?

    Actually, I would agree, except that you DO need to take into SOME account if he/she is a habitual offender. Because at some point you're no longer trying to rehabilitate, you're just keeping them off the street for the sake of the public.

    What I don't get is why the cell phone charge? Was that really all there was? Do they have evidence that he tried to contract a murder or other crime from inside prison? Because then you charge with Conspiracy to Commit murder/etc./etc., and the sentencing guidelines are accordingly long.

    If it was "illegal possession of electronics, you get 60 years", then yeah, that's ricockulous.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2009 @ 6:38am

    60 year may be harsh, but you don't know where the guards had to search to find it.

    Some people just shouldn't be walking the streets. They should be locked up forever. Are you sure this guy isn't one of them?

     

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  33.  
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    fishbane, May 19th, 2009 @ 5:51pm

    I don't know about Texas, but here in Maryland a prisoner was just convicted for using a smuggled cellphone to order a hit on an informant. Illegal cellphones have become tools used to continue criminal enterprises while the leaders are incarcerated.

    OK. How about convicting people for conspiracy to commit murder, and not concentrate on the cell phone?

    If someone hurts someone else by dropping an air conditioner on them, do you want to legally target air conditioners, or the behaviour?

    Alternately, if contraband is a problem in prisons, why not look at the most likely vector of contraband: the guards. Assuming that the source of drugs, alcohol and cellphones isn't the guards has to rest on the assumption that they're both perfectly honest and also completely incompetent at searching visitors, vendors, etc.

     

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  34.  
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    porno izle, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Re:

    The prisons are loving this. Their security isn't good. They let a cellphone in, and they get a prisoner for 60 years. At 60 years x $28,000, the average price to keep a prisoner for a year in prison, that's about $1.8 million.porno izle,sikiş izle

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    contract fun, Oct 18th, 2009 @ 2:53pm

    fair contract?

    Isnt there enough people in jail already. Would a fine not have been sufficiant.

     

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