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Interview with Chandra

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Chandra: I was arrested for driving on a suspended license. I was pulled over because the officer said I didn't have a tag light. I was arrested because I didn't have a driver license. It was 3 in the morning.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Chandra: No I was arrested when I was driving. The person I was with was drinking and I preferred to risk driving without a license rather than having them drive drunk.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Chandra: The next morning I had a first appearance in court. They are really rude. They bring you to a video monitor. They ask if you want a public defender. Because I had previous driving on suspended, it was considered "habitual" so I got no bond. I was a Confidential Informant (CI) at the time to avoid going to prison on other matters.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Chandra: Original charge was going to be a felony because it was habitual driving on a suspended license. But I was only convicted for a misdemeanor driving on a suspended license. I'm not sure if my charges were lessened because of being a CI. I got arrested July 31, and kept writing over to the courthouse asking for my court date... I was in there for 45 days which is the limit. I hadn't had a court date and I didn't know what was going on. I was in PC (protective custody) because I was a CI. I was only let out of my cell for about an hour a day for my own protection. I had to eat on the floor three meals a day, not allowed to sit at the table with other people. I made them change protective custody rules and regulations so I could be allowed out of my cell. 8 X 6 cell. Nobody to talk to, guard had to bring me a phone. Ultimately the lieutenants and sargeants got tired of me sending letters. I kept requesting to move out of PC... A week and a half before being released I was put in general population.

Read about sentencing in the Sumter County Jail

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