Man's minor crimes added up over years

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In his short adult life, Justin Elmore was in and out of court more often than some lawyers.

Though police never charged Mr. Elmore with a violent crime, the 23-year-old fatally shot by deputies last week appeared to be constantly on their radar.

In addition to three felony drug cases, Mr. Elmore had 12 different misdemeanor cases.

He spent time in jail, but never for very long. That's not a surprise to people familiar with the criminal justice system. Only so many people can fit in overcrowded jails and prisons, and judges prefer to use those spots for criminals who commit violent and major crimes, attorneys said.

Mr. Elmore's offenses mostly dealt with drug possession and traffic violations.

Veteran criminal defense attorney Pete Theodocion said Mr. Elmore's number of arrests might shock some people, but it is probably more reflective of his socioeconomic circumstances.

People in poor neighborhoods have more contact with police, he said. If someone has a proclivity to act out, he is going to be in court a lot, Mr. Theodocion said.

The reality is a college student who uses marijuana constantly is less likely to be arrested than a user in public housing.

"It is what it is," he said.

Still, a dozen arrests is an extreme number, said Augusta attorney Scott Connell, who has practiced law as a prosecutor and a defense attorney.

Once a person is known to the police, he can expect more encounters, and if he is hanging out in areas where police know drugs are bought and sold, the chances of being stopped and questioned increase even more, Mr. Connell said.

He agrees with Mr. Theodocion that the police presence is greater in poor neighborhoods. It's also where police are needed more, Mr. Connell said.

But the perceptions residents there have of police are often negative. People in middle- and upper-class areas see a police presence as a comfort, not intimidation, Mr. Connell said.

Richmond County State Court Judge David Watkins sees a lot of repeat misdemeanor offenders. Augusta isn't a very big city, and once a person is on the radar of law enforcement, he tends to remain there, the judge said.

Mr. Elmore owed more than $5,000 in fines on his felony drug convictions and thousands more from his misdemeanor cases. The probation department filed violation warrants numerous times because, for one reason, Mr. Elmore wasn't paying on his fines.

Judge Watkins said he and other judges are willing to convert fines into community service or waive fines if defendants follow the probation rules.

"It's not locked in that someone is set up to fail," he said. "But sometimes it's almost that the system is trying harder to help them than they are willing to help themselves."

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

ELMORE'S YEARS OF TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

Justin L. Elmore's criminal history from age 17 to 23:


NOV. 26, 2002: Arrest on misdemeanor obstruction charge for running from officer


DEC. 3, 2002: Charged with giving a false name


JUNE 25, 2003: Charged with obstruction for running from drug agent


OCT. 22, 2003: Charged with possession of marijuana, obstruction and giving a false name after struggling with a deputy while trying to hide a marijuana cigarette in his mouth


DEC. 29, 2003: Charged with theft by receiving, speeding, driving without a license and disorderly conduct after being stopped for speeding; theft charge dismissed in 2004


SEPT. 3, 2004: Charged with speeding and driving without a license


JAN. 27, 2005: Charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol and violating open container law; he was passenger in car stopped for speeding


DEC. 19, 2005: Charged with possession of cocaine with intent to resell and theft by receiving a stolen 9 mm handgun


APRIL 27, 2006: Traffic stop for improper windshield tint and driving without a license


JUNE 30, 2006: Arrested for driving without a valid license, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and possession of Ecstasy


AUG. 4, 2006: Arrested for possession of cocaine; released on bond


SEPT. 5, 2006: Bench warrant issued for his arrest after he doesn't appear for arraignment


OCT. 4, 2006: Pleads guilty to three pending felony cases. Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentences him to five years' probation under the First Offender Act and sets fine and surcharges at $5,550


JUNE 28, 2007: Probation officer files revocation petition because Mr. Elmore had not reported since January or paid on his fines and fees


AUG. 8, 2007: Arrested for speeding and driving without a license


AUG. 15, 2007: Judge signs order to release Mr. Elmore from jail; payment on his fine is made and he is returned to probation


SEPT. 11, 2007: Charged with driving without a license


OCT. 19, 2007: Probation officer files petition asking judge to revoke the First Offender sentence because of arrest on traffic offenses and because he didn't report to probation, do community service or stay employed


NOV. 11, 2007: Judge returns him to probation, increasing the supervision to "intensive" probation


JAN. 29: Charged with seat belt violation and driving without a license


MARCH 26: Driving movement violation, failure to stop after an accident, driving without insurance and without a driver's license


APRIL 21: Traffic ticket because of speedometer not working


AUG. 24: Arrested on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to resell and misdemeanor offenses of possession of marijuana and obstruction


AUG. 27: Judge signs order releasing him from jail; probation officer concurs.


OCT. 29: Judge Overstreet revokes First Offender status. No hearing date is set to determine whether the probation sentence should be changed to a prison sentence.

Source: Richmond County state and superior court records

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SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 12/21/08 - 10:16 am
0
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Oh, give the death penalty to

Oh, give the death penalty to those who are caught selling cocaine and methampehtamine. I guarantee you that sales will drop over night. Bring back the chain gang for other drug offenders. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 12/21/08 - 10:21 am
0
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Martinez....Did you read

Martinez....Did you read http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime ?

Please help save decent neighbourhoods by sending this to everyone that you know. We have the same variables in Augusta as they have in Memphis TN.

ITDoc
1
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ITDoc 12/21/08 - 10:30 am
0
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Legalize drugs and make

Legalize drugs and make dealing them a capital offense.

aaa
2
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aaa 12/21/08 - 10:57 am
0
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Mr. Obama, Tear down these

Mr. Obama, Tear down these projects. Give these people their dignity. Teach them to fish, not to stand in line for another handout.

usnvet
0
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usnvet 12/21/08 - 11:20 am
0
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Legalize them so police

Legalize them so police departments can focus on real crimes instead of being the "buzz police". Good grief people, SRS is only a few miles from here and they produce stuff that's so nasty it's deadly to ALL LIFE for millions of years. Why is it that we allow ourselves to be brainwashed into thinking that doing anything to ourselves, of our own pleasing is a crime? Nothing in this mans' record that is published in this story warrants the death penalty. Petty crimes at best. Police and government, with unfettered access to the media over the past three decades have turned everyday life in a "free country" into a literal minefield of crimes that noone who lives under the microscope of public housing could ever avoid. Legalize drugs and gangs will disappear. Taxes will go down and we won't need police departments armed like small armies thinking they have the right to gun down its citizens. Women have the right to kill unborn children through abortion for any reason they choose, they can have tupperware implanted in their chest to make them "feel better about themselves", what's the big deal about someone choosing to catch a buzz on something other than alchohol?

corgimom
28485
Points
corgimom 12/21/08 - 11:48 am
0
0
"The only reason drugs are

"The only reason drugs are illegal is to provide the government with a reason to stop, harrass and arrest the minorities." This is the best laugh I've had all day. What a ridiculous statement. usnvet, you have fried your brain with all your "medication"

usnvet
0
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usnvet 12/21/08 - 11:50 am
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And you have fried yours

And you have fried yours watching the propaganda on TV. If this had been a tip delivered to the cops about someone at West Lake, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

usnvet
0
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usnvet 12/21/08 - 11:56 am
0
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"The powers in charge keep us

"The powers in charge keep us in a perpetual state of fear, keep us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real."
- General Douglas MacArthur

usnvet
0
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usnvet 12/21/08 - 11:57 am
0
0
I am concerned for the

I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.- General Douglas MacArthur

gcap
270
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gcap 12/21/08 - 11:58 am
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It's not about drugs. It's

It's not about drugs. It's not about race. It's about a thoroughly uneducated populace. If our society concentrated on fulfilling the laws of educating our children AND if parents enforced those laws by making sure their kids attended school and did the work, cops would be bored. People would have honest, productive jobs. Why do we keep treating the symptoms (racism, drugs, crime, poverty, etc.), when the disease is clearly a lack of education. Ask President-elect Obama how he achieved. He will most certainly say he worked hard and graduated from Harvard.

tylenol
0
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tylenol 12/21/08 - 11:59 am
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Mr. Elmore may have been

Mr. Elmore may have been misguided as most of us are. But to shoot the guy more than twice, wow. Why not shoot the tires or the engine. Trigger happy. This will be another cop did the right thing. Ha. The system is difficult to beat. Sympathy to the family.

corgimom
28485
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corgimom 12/21/08 - 12:06 pm
0
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Drugs are illegal because

Drugs are illegal because they destroy people's lives. And yes, I've known drug addicts, and they are the saddest people in the world. To suggest that drugs are illegal to harrass minorites is just ludicrous. And when I lived in the projects in Columbia, my son- who is white- was harrassed by the police because they thought he was a drug dealer. But he's not a minority, so why did they do that? Hmm????

BarstoolDreamer
19
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BarstoolDreamer 12/21/08 - 12:29 pm
0
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Drugs are illegal now so that

Drugs are illegal now so that means there should be no problem right?......wrong! it is not the drugs that make people who they are, it is thier own addictive personality....legalize them now and the group of addicts would not change....legalize it.

pah4r
0
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pah4r 12/21/08 - 12:31 pm
0
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justus4, we all know there is

justus4, we all know there is NO WAY you would be sprouting the garbage that you are if this had been about a "white" being killed by the cops for the same reason this man met his demise. Those like you just perpetuate the differences between the races and most sane, intelligent folks, (both blacks and whites), of society see it for what it is,

WW1949
19
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WW1949 12/21/08 - 12:32 pm
0
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usnvet, you must have never

usnvet, you must have never been involved with a person who uses drugs. They can't hold a job because the drugs become the only thing in their messed up life. They steal, they lie and do anything they can to get the drugs. They then become a burden to everybody and go around in a daze. Is that what you want society to be? I sure hope not. I HAD a brother who was a good and smart person but started useing drugs and went so low that he woukd steal anything to get the high. He is now dead from cocain, dilaudid and oxycontin. You sure have a warped sense of what is good for an orderly society. How many young people do you think Mr. Elmore started down that road? All he had to do was stop. And to say if he lived in West Lake it would be different. Yes it would because parents teach their children to respect the police. Only people with something to hide would act like Mr. Elmore and try to run down the police.

usnvet
0
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usnvet 12/21/08 - 12:46 pm
0
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So? The individual rights of

So? The individual rights of others outweigh your right to tell them what to do. You live your life and let others live theirs. Your brother was a victim of the laws you so eagerly defend. Government would have you believe that we are all stupid, that we can't use anything other than alchohol without destroying ourselves, all the while it is them who are destroying everything else including our constitutional rights. And if you think about it, it's just the cops "SAYING" he tried to run them down, we don't know that for sure. What else are they going to say? They shot him leaving Sunday school. Don't be stupid!!

stephanieware
0
Points
stephanieware 12/21/08 - 01:15 pm
0
0
ive read taxpayer bit>>>>

ive read taxpayer bit>>>> about their money wasted on the project,, what about our money wasted on a failed justice system... i'm sure his family would have much
rather him been in prison than a grave.. the system gave him a second chance why cant we.. who are we to judge
i say we pray for his family cause on day i could be one of us, be it selling dope,driving drunk and killing an innocence human no ones perfect

WW1949
19
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WW1949 12/21/08 - 01:16 pm
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usnvet, I am not stupid. In

usnvet, I am not stupid. In fact I am a very very successful business person who thinks and knows that drugs have no room in a persons life. They never help. They only harm. Tell me one person who uses hard drugs and makes it to the top. You can't because the drugs control and ruin your life. I have seen that with many of my classmates who went to the bottom. As far as Mr. Elmore, we will have to see the tapes. And who really cares about him, he sold drugs for his livelyhood and did not care about the people he helped along the path to their downfall.

RhondaAllDay365
10
Points
RhondaAllDay365 12/21/08 - 01:25 pm
0
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O.K. I read his criminal

O.K. I read his criminal history and he wasn't in society's eyes a boyscout but he still didn't deserve to die! He never was arrested for a violent crime or known for hurting people, h_ll I've been arrested for driving while my lisense was suspended so does that mean I should get shot in the face? I feel the system fail him also because with all his priors why were still letting him out?

SMHwhatamessthisis
0
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SMHwhatamessthisis 12/21/08 - 01:38 pm
0
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Here are the statistics on

Here are the statistics on welfare recipients:
Traits of families on AFDC (1)

Race
--------------
White 38.8%
Black 37.2
Hispanic 17.8
Asian 2.8
Other 3.4
so can the white ppl keep talking about the black? here are some facts more white people are on welfare.

ladybug23gs
0
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ladybug23gs 12/21/08 - 01:43 pm
0
0
As im sittin read everyone

As im sittin read everyone comments, my mouth is dropping open so many of you are not gettin the point of the story. Yes man has a record but that has notthing to do wit why the cops have shot this man. his record dont give anyone the right to take his life. most of you should be ashame of yourselves, because if this was your child u would want justice and thats the bottom line.

justthefacts
20487
Points
justthefacts 12/21/08 - 02:10 pm
0
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Ladybug, they didn't shoot

Ladybug, they didn't shoot him because of his record!! They shot him because he tried to RUN OVER THEM. What the heck is wrong with you?

geraldthe01
0
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geraldthe01 12/21/08 - 02:34 pm
0
0
There was only one perfect

There was only one perfect man"JESUS CHRIST". I said that to say this. It doesn't matter what color, you are Black,White,Asian,Latino,Indian or whatever else.RICH,POOR,MIDDLECLASS,or HOMELESS.Lawer,Doctor,Teacher or Preacher.THE WORD OF GOD,says " let Him That Do Without SIN Cast The 1st Stone"Now Can anyone honestly say that they are Perfect?......In other words there or skeletons in all of our closets. Judges,Police,Thugs,Innocent people,SAVED,or UNSAVED.It's true Mr.Elmore had a criminal past but he was still somebody's FRIEND,SON,BROTHER,DAD.We hear all the negative played on the radio & displayed on the news, BUT NOT one of Use Here knew His heart,we don't know if Mr. Elmore wanted to change his LIFE around,we don't know if Mr.Elmore was tired of living the life style he was living,nobody knew but him and GOD!How of us was brought up the right way but we drifted off course a little, while we was young.even at 23 he still had a chance to get it together.It's Sad he had to go that way,And it's also ruff on the Officers, i DON'T believe NO officer wakes up everyday just want to kill someone."which there are some bad cops"but the average one probadly don't want to kill anybody.

spdermn78
4
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spdermn78 12/21/08 - 03:09 pm
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usnvet and justus4 you two

usnvet and justus4 you two cats are CLOWNS. Morning family?? What about all the mourning and hurt family of crack addicts this bwoy supplied. What about all the strung out crack babies that were born while Elmore was at the club throwing up money. The media or society didnt kill Elmore, he killed himself. After the first couple of arrest he should have woken up and changed his lifestyle; however he wanted to be a career dope bwoy. Its people like the two of you that make hard working african americans disgusted. Glorifying the hood life while bad mouthing law enforcement and the judicial system. Why werent you two clowns trying to preach to him before he was killed. I know because you were two scared to go to the hood. Sit down in your warm houses, drink your cinnamon snap tea and SHUT YOUR MOUTHS!!

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 12/21/08 - 03:09 pm
0
0
Important bulletin for

Important bulletin for usnvet-------------------How many cans of spray paint are you huffing per day, cuz????? Elmore was a knuckle-dragging gangster thug criminal who used his vehicle to ram one patrol car, and then attempted to run over another RCSO Deputy with a weapon drawn and trained on Elmore, and Elmore continued toward the Deputy, until shots were fired, and the cretin got exactly what he deserved!!!! If there was a life insurance policy in place for Elmore, I hope that Richmond County can require payments of his outstanding fines and debts. ELMORE is NO-MORE, and Augusta-Richmond County is a safer place to live.

justthefacts
20487
Points
justthefacts 12/21/08 - 03:20 pm
0
0
F-100, don't sugarcoat it.

F-100, don't sugarcoat it. Tell it staight out.

greatkubuki
0
Points
greatkubuki 12/21/08 - 04:02 pm
0
0
Romans 13 (New Living

Romans 13 (New Living Translation)

Romans 13
Respect for Authority
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

SMHwhatamessthisis
0
Points
SMHwhatamessthisis 12/21/08 - 04:15 pm
0
0
i see ya'll believe

i see ya'll believe everything the news and the police say's just about all cops are crooket...believe me god gonna see to the truth and i hope they sue the pants off the police stations.obama needs to do away with the police force they don't know how to obey rules.officers you can't just make your own rules..what if you had killed that kids when your bullet went thru that lady window and glazed her son head?you knew better to be shooting around all them people anyways...you shot that boy cause u wanted to.jeese jackson is here get them jeese.and the black panthers are here to see to it that the truth come out so i can laugh at these klan members who hide behibd a keyboard and judge people.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 12/21/08 - 04:17 pm
0
0
SMH, All that does is show

SMH, All that does is show the percentage makeup of the people receiving welfare. What you really need to show is the percentage of the total population of the US and what percentage of each race is on welfare. That is a truer picture.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 12/21/08 - 04:23 pm
0
0
Jessie is past history and

Jessie is past history and his son is soon to be . Who gives a damn about the panthers. Nothing but a bunch of fools.

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