08/11/06 — The system: Court gives young felon a break, but is it justice?

View Archive

The system: Court gives young felon a break, but is it justice?

Rashaad of Durham is 19 years old.

Despite his youth, he is a convicted felon with a lengthy court record.

Less than two months ago, he was in court on 10 charges. They included breaking and entering, damaging real property, possession of drugs and stolen goods... The list goes on.

At the time those offenses were committed, Cox already was on probation for possession of a stolen car.

So what happened when he faced the “bar of justice” on the 10 cases this summer?

The cases were consolidated and Cox pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. He, again, was put on probation.

At 1:40 a.m. Wednesday, two armed men kicked down the door of a home in a Durham residential neighborhood. Inside were a couple and their 15-month old son.

The man of the house grabbed his own pistol and started firing at the intruders. One of the burglars was killed in his tracks. The other fled.

Shortly thereafter, Rashaad Cox showed up at Duke Hospital with a gunshot wound in the arm.

He subsequently was charged with first-degree burglary, armed robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony possession of cocaine found on him at the hospital.

The burglary and armed robbery charges were for the break-in at a residence a few minutes earlier.

If Rashaad Cox was one of the two who kicked down the door and stormed into the dwelling, a legitimate question is: Why was a man who earlier had faced 10 charges for crimes committed while on probation two months ago running free on probation again?

Might these latest charges be consolidated and reduced to misdemeanors so this young man can be released to demonstrate his ability to be a good citizen?

Don’t rule it out.

Published in Editorials on August 11, 2006 11:30 AM