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Interview with Jack, Jerry, Sarah, Jesse, Kristie, Tim, Judith, Domingo and Hector

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Jack: Several months till got a court date....
Jerry: I was there on child support so there was no pre- sentencing process. You just have to sit in jail a long time though before you go to court on anything.
Sarah: Pre sentencing took me nearly 7 months just to get a court date. It was THE worst experience ever!
Jesse: I went into the Chamblee Police dept. to get a backgound check and was told I had an outstanding warrant and was arrested.
Kristie: After getting arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession and failure to appear, I spent a week in jail. I was placed on a year of probation. As part of my probation I had $1500 in fines plus the monthly probation "fee". I went in for a probation violation hearing because I couldn't afford to pay my fines. I explained to the judge that I couldn't afford the probation fines. Without hesitation the Judge found me guilty and sentenced me to ninety days.
Tim: There was no sentencing in this case. I was just being detained because the cops in Gwinette had no desire at all to actually look to see if I had any warrants. It was all word of mouth. There was not one. No lawyer, no questioning, just sent to population. I was later told that I was on a warrant from Cherokee county and that I had to wait to be transferred when Cherokee got around to getting me and moving me to Cherokee
Judith: I was held for 72 hours in a freezing cold holding cell. It was very crowded with no more room to sit up on a bench or in the floor. They would swap us from one cell to another to mop them out and would call us individually for fingerprinting.
Domingo: violation of probation and j walk

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Jack: No
Jerry: NO
Sarah: No, never
Jesse: no
Kristie: I moved back to Georgia via Greyhound and had to take a cab from the bus station to my new place. After the cab arrived at my location the driver decided that he was going to charge me a $14 extra person fee for the three bags I had placed in his trunk. I began to argue with the driver and told him to call the cops (stupid). The cop arrived and I gave him my information. I had no idea that I had a bench warrant for failure to appear. Two years earlier I was driving a friends vehicle and got pulled over for no insurance. I totally forgot about the ticket because it didn't affect my out of state license. I moved away and just had no damn idea. The cop searches me and finds less than half a gram of marijuana. Done.
Tim: The Gwenette cops came to where I was staying in and kicked in the door guns drawn threatening to kill me. I was arrested because the cops in Gwenette were told by Cherokee county I was an unregistered sex offender. I transferred to Cherokee county after a few weeks and in the mean time left in population in Gwenette holding cells.
Judith: No.I was sentenced to one year for a shoplifting charge, and had to be housed there at Gwinnett county until I was sent to prison.I had been prepared by my attorney and knew I was going to do the time,although I didn't know how much of it would be in Gwinnett.
Hector: Violation of prohibation

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Jack: It was a clouded court room and a long process and a long wait to get the case heard.......
Jerry: Very short and you don't get to say much at all. The judge does all the talking and then sends you back to the jail.
Sarah: That's the thing, as soon as I handed the letters from my co-defendent (who did not mention the drugs or the large quantity) I finally got to sit and wait ALL day to get into the courtroom and then they dropped ALL charges.
Jesse: No court
Kristie: What I mostly remember is trying in vain to defend myself for the failure to appear warrant. The friend years ago that let me drive her truck to work told me her insurance card was in the glove box. It was and it appeared to be valid. Well it turns out she had not paid the bill and the insurance had cancelled. I asked the judge what I was supposed to do in that situation after she told me that it was my responsibility to ensure my friends vehicle was insured. The Judge responded that I needed better friends. When the Judge sentenced me and found me guilty I pleaded with her not to because I was supposed to leave for the Army as soon as the probation was over. She didn't respond and had me led from the courtroom. I nearly fainted when she gave me 90 days. It was ridiculous, there were girls in there for assault that did less time.
Tim: I was not in court in Gwenette. I was held there for a few weeks and later transferred to Cherokee. I was not given a lawyer or trial date or court appearance nor were any charges explained and I never saw a judge. I was not allowed to communicate with the outside in any way. No phone, no letters. I was isolated.
Judith: For me, it was only myself, and another girl being sentenced that morning.My lawyer was there.It was pretty cut and dry because I knew what to expect my sentence was going to be.Right after I was sentenced they put me in another holding cell until it was time to go to the main jail.
Hector: Like I was a piece of crap on the stage of a happy hour comedy club.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Kristie: I was originally arrested for failure to appear and misdemeanor marijuana possession. I was convicted of violation of probation (for not paying my fines that I could not afford - tell me again how there is no debtors prison in this country)
Tim: The original charges go all the way back to 2001 and have nothing to do with Gwenette county in this case. I was forced to plead guilty to sexual exploitation of children by a lawyer that was far to drunk to function and when I saked him what I was being charged with (36 hours after I found my wife dead in our bed) I was told, "what the fuck difference does it make to you?"
Judith: I was charged with shoplifting,but it ended up being shoplifting and a felony drug charge because I had paraphenalia (a pipe) on me when I was caught.
Hector: Prosecution unwilling to compromise.

Read about sentencing in the Gwinnett County Jail

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