Seven Minutes on the Lam Gets Three Extra Years in Prison

Warren Carter pleaded guilty to stealing copper wire from the Little Nell Residences in Aspen. The judge sentenced him to three years. Upon hearing the sentence, he bolted from the courtroom and was caught 7 minutes later.

Yesterday, Carter agreed to plead guilty to escape for his 7 minutes on the lam. The agreed upon sentence: three years, consecutive to the three years on the original charge. Carter will plead on November 1. Until then, it looks like he'll remain a guest of the Pitkin County Jail.

True, he has a lengthy record, and could have been charged as a habitual offender and faced much more time, but labeling someone a "fugitive" for a 7 minute panic attack seems a little excessive.

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    classic soft on crime (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 08:04:15 PM EST
    If he hadn't been caught I doubt that he would have returned when his "panic attack" ended.  People who bolt from courtrooms create great danger and risk to society and society needs to build in a strong taboo against it by "ridiculous" looking long sentences against it.  The point is to prevent courtroom escapes which so often lead to violence, hostage situations, shootings, car chases, etc.

    How much humanity... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:07:40 AM EST
    are you willing to sacrifice to set your societal precedents and create societal taboos?

    Repeat offender or not, it is a natural human instinct to flee (or fight) capture.  I don't see the problem with the system acknowledging this part of human nature, and punishing this instinct in a more reasonable manner when acted upon, especially when it's just flee and no fight for 7 minutes like this case.

    The greater point is not to waste our money, lose our heads, and most importantly lose our humanity when making our points about acceptable/unacceptable behavior.


    sure ... (none / 0) (#10)
    by nyrias on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 01:34:18 PM EST
    we should get him for being a repeated offender.

    Oh, i am more than happy to sacrifice a bit of "humanity" to lock up habitual criminals.

    Heck, for violent ones, throw away the keys.


    humanity (none / 0) (#15)
    by diogenes on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 08:44:33 PM EST
    I'd sacrifice a lot of humanity if social taboos prevent some other guy from bolting from court and then taking a hostage or grabbing a court officer's gun to try to avoid capture.  

    he didn't do either (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:21:29 PM EST
    but you're willing to punish a crime that didn't occur regardless.

    And chances are, anyone desperate or irrational enough to grab a court officer's gun or to take hostages isn't going to dissuaded by a measly additional three years anyway.


    no . the point is not (none / 0) (#17)
    by nyrias on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 10:20:15 AM EST
    to dissuade him.

    The point is, if he indeed grab a gun, get him away from the public as long as possible.


    I'm sure the taxpayers will be happy to pay (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:20:26 PM EST
    another $100-150K for three additional years in prison.

    For someone like this ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by nyrias on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 01:36:04 PM EST
    "More than two dozen separate cases had been filed against Carter in Colorado over the years -- ranging from traffic offenses to felony forgery and burglary charges. He has been arrested or ticketed in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Garfield and Jefferson counties, data shows."



    How much time should lapse then? (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:17:39 AM EST
    An hour?  A day?  A week?

    Perhaps we should stick to (none / 0) (#6)
    by Radix on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:30:58 PM EST
    "what is" arguments instead "what if's".

    the time it takes to stick a knife in somebody, can get you life in prison...

    no violence in this case (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:39:41 PM EST
    he stole copper wire from a hotel.

    True enough, (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:57:15 PM EST
    my point was that the consequences of illegal acts are not in any way related to the amount time it takes to do the illegal act.

    But... (none / 0) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 02:08:30 PM EST
    Isn't the point of having stiff escape sentences because they are inherently dangerous ?

    The crime was committed, whether the police were efficient with his capture should be irrelevant.


    It seems harsh (none / 0) (#9)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 01:25:00 PM EST
    when phrased that way but imagine if a guy escapes prison and is captured in the parking lot- technically he'd probably be free for 30 seconds or so and yet he would likely recieve significantly more than 3 years in additional time.

    interesting you bring that up (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 02:09:44 PM EST
    From the article, the sticking issue in the case was whether he was legally in custody. The judge had sentenced him and told him to go sit in a chair to wait for the sheriff.

    At issue was whether Carter was in custody at the time of the incident. Both Mordkin and Rachesky said they are unaware of any Colorado case law regarding a defendant who fled from a courthouse immediately after being sentenced.

    In the case of Carter, Boyd instructed him to sit in the in-custody area in the courtroom until further notice; instead, he "walked quickly toward the door of the courtroom," before running down the stairs and out of the west door of the courthouse....

    Usually the judge imposes sentence and says something like "I hereby remand you to the custody of X". Hard to tell from the article if the Judge did that and the issue is that the Sheriff hadn't taken physically taken custody of him yet, or the judge forgot the official remand.


    out of curiousity, (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 06:59:33 PM EST
    is the jail he's being sent to a privately run one, or is it run by the state? i ask, because the sentence could, if privately run, be a significant boon to the operators of the jail.

    this could simply be an economic expedient, using the courts to buff up the local economy.