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.

Sandy Hodson
Database Reporter
E-mail | 706-823-3226

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

Comments (107) Add comment
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usnvet
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usnvet 12/21/08 - 03:38 pm
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Displaying your ability to

Displaying your ability to call people names and trying to demean them just lends to the already obvious notion that you are just KKK shills who are here promoting your own racist views. You sit there looking down your noses at people while you sit on your fat [filtered word]es. Here is a news flash, The only reason you have a successful business is because you have overcharged your customers and underpaid your employees to the point to where you have more money than either. This makes you, in your mind I'm sure, qualified to pass judgement on those who have nothing. I submit that you are just as much a parasite on society as you are attempting to make this man out to be.Go ahead and post your business name in here if you are so proud of it. When it's all said and done it may be YOU who gets judged. How you judge others, so to shall you be judged!

Waymore
114
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Waymore 12/21/08 - 03:41 pm
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SMH, glaze goes on a

SMH, glaze goes on a doughnut. No bullet "grazed" anyones head, for if that was so, the person "grazed" by the bullet would have gone to the hospital. You constantly lie, and you never answered the question posed to you about the Davis shooting. I think in your haste to stir the pot, you make up lies. You are a liar. I again challenge your assertion that Ortiz was involved in the Davis shooting and that there was an officer who was involved.

mommy22girls
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mommy22girls 12/21/08 - 04:29 pm
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Obama do away with the police

Obama do away with the police force?? So that all these drug dealers, black and WHITE, murderers, rapist and so on get away with their crimes even more. Why is this becoming a race issue, the cops who shot him was black and Hispanic, not white. What does the KKK or Black Panthers have to do with it? Not all cops are bad just like not all people are racist or trying to hold the next person down. I am white and I grew up in the down town area, I am not nor have ever had a racists bone in my body, I am educated and provide a good life for my family. I believe this guy deserved to be in jail but the judge continued to let him out giving him several chances to change his ways, the white judge may I add, so how is it that it has become any one else fault other then his? Did he deserve to die, I am not the one to make that judgment. They should send these guys to Iraq if they are so willing to throw there lives away to street crime so that my friends that have family and cherish their lives can get out of harms way and come home...

mommy22girls
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mommy22girls 12/21/08 - 04:38 pm
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Not to mention I do not think

Not to mention I do not think anyone has room to be calling anyone racist- If you go back and read past post from SMH they are all racially slanted toward white people and a post concerning the Chinese ethnic. Its calling the kettle black huh? It's okay for you to sit there and degrade someone due to there race but no one can even argue in the cops defense with out being "klan members" hiding behind their keyboards. What about you? What is your name?

As It Is
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As It Is 12/21/08 - 05:06 pm
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Usnvet, the minor

Usnvet, the minor disciplinary actions of the two minority officers who for the first time in their careers were forced to fire their weapons was published in the chronicle a few days back. There was nothing of significance and no use of excessive force, etc. They didn't shoot because he was a drug dealer, this time or the many other arrests, but because he took agressive actions. Justus4, although you are basically a racist hopeless case, even you must realize that the police don’t need to shoot black men (and very few actually occur anyway) because black men are killing each other over drugs, gangs and other criminal activities at a rate far greater than anything else. What is so confusing is that many leaders within the black community refuse to accept this fact and would rather continue to blame whites, cops and they system. Those such as Bill Cosby who do their best to stop enabling and take personal responsibility for their actions and call for others to do the same actually get berated and called an uncle Tom. Until people of any race take personal responsibility for their actions, follow the laws of the land and stop blaming others they will never be successful.

jack2006
116
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jack2006 12/21/08 - 05:14 pm
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Maybe, this is the life of an

Maybe, this is the life of an informant when they don’t need you anymore or trying to get rid of you by knocking you off. This would be the only reason why anybody would have a record like this or still out of jail. This doesn’t make sense for the legal system to allow this to happen or to continue to happen. What big fish were they after to cause this man’s death?

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 12/21/08 - 05:21 pm
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This is simple, if you follow

This is simple, if you follow these rules no harm will come to you by the law: #1DO WHAT A COP TELLS YOU TO!. If you don't think he treated you fairly..just do what you are told & later tell a superior. #2 Don't sell drugs..if you do & a cop catchs you? Don't run your mouth. DO WHAT YOUR TOLD TO DO! #3 DO WHAT A COP TELLS YOU TO DO..DON'T RUN YOUR MOUTH & DON'T TRY TO RUN FROM A COP...If you follow these simple rules, you will be fine. Cops don't shoot people who do what they are told to do. It's that simple..but the biggest problem is people can't keep their BIG MOUTH SHUT.

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 12/21/08 - 05:29 pm
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One last rule..thism is a big

One last rule..thism is a big one & it never changes! IF YOU FIGHT WITH A COP, YOU WILL LOSE..YOU CAN NOT WIN..SO KEEP YOUR BIG MOUTH SHUT & DO WHAT A COP TELLS YOU TO DO! There is always some jerk that can't keep his mouth shut & he thinks a REAL MAN don't take no craph. Then he does something stupid like try & run from a cop or over a cop & then he's dead for what? because he is a man & a man don't take no craph..AND THE MAN IS DEAD BUT HE DON'T TAKE NO CRAPH!

bentman
466
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bentman 12/21/08 - 05:32 pm
0
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Poor victim. It wasn't his

Poor victim. It wasn't his fault. He was forced to violate the law. There must have been someone in the floorboard of the SUV forcing his foot down onto the accelerator while, at the same time, directing the SUV into the police car with no involvement from him. Yeah, that's it. He was a victim.

jack2006
116
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jack2006 12/21/08 - 05:36 pm
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Hit dogs always hallo!

Hit dogs always hallo!

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 12/21/08 - 05:37 pm
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Something just came to me

Something just came to me sitting here thinking about this & the difference's in the way people are raised. I'm almost 52 & I was raised to respect authority & the cops. But look at some of the letters here & the TV video. Do any of you see anyone in the video or from letters written here that looks like they were taught to respect authority & the law & cops? NO they are taught to HATE!!!

jack2006
116
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jack2006 12/21/08 - 05:41 pm
0
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Excuse me, but are you having

Excuse me, but are you having a stroke this evening? It really sounds like one. I had enough fun today. I gotta go. Chill out.

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 12/21/08 - 05:45 pm
0
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jack...no I just wish some

jack...no I just wish some had a brain,,they need to go see the wizard

usnvet
0
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usnvet 12/21/08 - 05:49 pm
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These are the same tactics

These are the same tactics used by the Gestapo in WWII. Cops have no right to randomly stop people on the streets, tip or not they aren't allowed to come in blazing without investigating the allegations first. They get away with it because current Americans are stupid. That's right, Stupid. We have a right to bear arms to protect ourselves. The cops want to be your sole protector. They want you to be scared so you will relinquish even more of your rights to them. So they can get more funding, so their kids can have jobs and they can have even more power to run ruff-shod over the general public. They use the TV media to broadcast fear into everyones home nightly. Know this: noone and I mean noone who has had their face and name broadcasted on TV in connection with a crime has EVER received a fair trial and the TV stations know it, but they don't care. WE don't need all the police and media!! We need to exercise our own right to bear arms and the police can show up when called. Pro-active law enforcement is a euphamism for Gestapo tactics used to entrap the public. You can give away your rights all you want, but you have NO RIGHT giving away mine.

jack2006
116
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jack2006 12/21/08 - 05:50 pm
0
0
If you don't have a brain,

If you don't have a brain, then how can they be taught to hate? Isn't that a learning process? Hate is constructed.

politicallyNcorrect1
0
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politicallyNcorrect1 12/21/08 - 05:52 pm
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Ahhhh

Ahhhh

As It Is
2
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As It Is 12/21/08 - 06:08 pm
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usnvet: This is not the same

usnvet: This is not the same as the Gestapo and not only do they have a right to stop a vehicle suspected of being stolen and possessing guns and drugs, they have a duty to do so. They were stopping the vehicle in an effort to investigate the allegations but were unable to do so because the suspect didn't want them to and decided to try and evade / run over them by ramming their cars and driving towards an officer pointing a weapon at him. Police certainly believe in the right to bear arms, most support the NRA and are also supportive of non-criminals and felons being armed after proper training and are also supportive of victims who kill criminals in self defense to protect their lives or property. Although I do see your point to an extent on the media, plenty receive fair trials and are set free every day by our legal system and Elmore received many opportunities from our police and courts to correct his behavior. You are clueless on your rights as a US citizen and who is sworn to uphold them. The police are here to protect and serve and they do a damn fine job at it for the lack of support from the general community. A bit of research prior to forming opinions may help.

KSL
150530
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KSL 12/21/08 - 06:25 pm
0
0
I wonder if Elmore was under

I wonder if Elmore was under the influence of drugs when he aimed his vehicle at the officer with intent to run him down. At any rate, lots of violent offenders start out as with nonviolent criminal records and progress to more violent crimes. Elmore and only Elmore is to blame for what happened to him when he made his last ill-advised decision.

Searching 4 the facts
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Searching 4 the facts 12/21/08 - 06:29 pm
0
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Mr. Elmore's offenses mostly

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.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 12/21/08 - 06:32 pm
0
0
The members of the Cherry

The members of the Cherry Tree Crossing Community that don't want drug-traffickers and trouble in there, are quite happy that the police were there to promote order. They even pointed out the trouble spots to the officers. Only God knows the whole truth, but it seems to me, from what we have been presented so far, that the shooting was justified. But we won't know for sure until all the facts are in.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 12/21/08 - 06:33 pm
0
0
I wonder how long will they

I wonder how long will they run stories on this guy, I suppose the next one or the final one would be on the day of his burial. What's the purpose of this article, who really wanted to know?

KSL
150530
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KSL 12/21/08 - 06:33 pm
0
0
Yeah, I read that. Why are

Yeah, I read that. Why are you repeating it? It appears to be he wasn't learning to behave.

humbleopinion
1
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humbleopinion 12/21/08 - 06:47 pm
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I'm wondering why I waste my

I'm wondering why I waste my time and money getting a drivers license and paying for insurance......seems you can be a repeat offender with no legal problems involved.

rrr332
0
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rrr332 12/21/08 - 06:51 pm
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"USNVET", you are absolutely

"USNVET", you are absolutely pothetic and a disgrace to the uniform that you apparently donned at one time. you should at least change your screen name to match your completely one sided views. God give you 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. You should listen twice as much as you talk. You need to practice that virtue.

WW1949
19
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WW1949 12/21/08 - 07:01 pm
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usnvet, you don't know

usnvet, you don't know jack**** about me or anyone else on this blog or wheather I pay good wages or not. For your info my secretary makes over 80K, my salesman over 80k and my main production crew of 5 over $250000.00 split between them. I supply my secretary of 37 years with a car, pay her gas and cell phone. I bet you don't have it that good. My employees are paid by what they do and not by the hour. If all business did that we would be in much better shape and those that produce would make more and those that don't would fall by the wayside like Mr. Elmore did. And by the way none of my employees are college educated--just hard workers that want to better themselves and not depend on the government for a handout. I wonder if they kicked you out of the Navy. If they did not then they should have. Take that check away from you and I bet you would change your tune.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 12/21/08 - 07:06 pm
0
0
rrr332 you are right on about

rrr332 you are right on about usnvet. I bet he is not telling the truth about the Navy. All retired military I come in contact with are fine upstanding people with a very good outlook on this country, what it stands for and patriotic toward this country and its ideals.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 12/21/08 - 07:10 pm
0
0
I believe that if these punks

I believe that if these punks were required to spend their first sentence in a ARMY tent behind barbed wire, without any visitors, they wouldn't commit crime a second time.

disssman
6
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disssman 12/21/08 - 07:13 pm
0
0
BTW did anyone see the

BTW did anyone see the funeral? I am serious about the baboom,baboom,baboom,baboom music for the service. I know the punks-in-rust are always trying to see how far they can go and they really need to do something at the RCSD or else these guys will have absolutely no respect for deputies.

KSL
150530
Points
KSL 12/21/08 - 07:17 pm
0
0
usnvet, if you think "cops,"

usnvet, if you think "cops," your term not mine, want us not to be armed and able to protect ourselves, pray tell me why they sponsored a course, which I took, in the proper use of a hand gun in self defense and defense of my home, complete with target practice. You, sir, are either ignorant, or so darned biased, you can't think straight.

KSL
150530
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KSL 12/21/08 - 07:22 pm
0
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ww, I'm with you on usnvet.

ww, I'm with you on usnvet. If he did serve, he some how got out without the typical manners and respect that all military people I have ever know have.

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