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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God save America
62
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God save America 12/21/08 - 07:36 pm
0
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how many drug dealers have

how many drug dealers have been killed by police in the projects. every day i see where black people are shooting and killing each other so they are doing away with their race and not the whites. if you make drugs legal then whole families will be on them. people should be in school learning things to maybe help them get a job then staying high all the time. people will be getting high and driveing cars and killing people not on drugs. people in west lake don't shoot each other and set trash on fire . they get a degree and get a good job so they can live in west lake.

KSL
144118
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KSL 12/21/08 - 08:21 pm
0
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Somebody email me at

Somebody email me at kslouder@bellsouth.net if usnvet ever answers our questions or addresses our comments about them.

usnvet
0
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usnvet 12/21/08 - 08:31 pm
0
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Yes, I can see how you are so

Yes, I can see how you are so much better than me. Perhaps you should direct the RCSO to come put me out of my misery. You are so proud of your business, PUT THE NAME OF IT IN HERE SO WE CAN ASSOCIATE YOUR RACIST A** WITH IT. See then how much your KKK members earn this coming year. And all you idiots whom, at reading my post find it necessary to attempt to demean my military service, I have a wall full of medals that allows me to say anything that I want to. You become a TV Bot if you want to. I know what freedom means and cops, governments and the TV news media are freedoms enemies, that you can be sure of!

KSL
144118
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KSL 12/21/08 - 08:36 pm
0
0
Except you cannot yell fire

Except you cannot yell fire in a theatre unless there really is one.

KSL
144118
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KSL 12/21/08 - 08:37 pm
0
0
Well, you can, but you have

Well, you can, but you have to suffer the consequences.

spdermn78
4
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spdermn78 12/21/08 - 10:13 pm
0
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UNSNVET and SMH why are you

UNSNVET and SMH why are you constantly talking about KKK and racist rants. Im an african american from queens, NYC and trust me I have seen my fair share of police brutality. These two deputies, both who are minorities, did their job and damn well. I dont see your senstive a** walking a beat in cherrytree. Where were you when the thug was killed robbing the captan D's weeks ago. Where where you when the little 16 year old girl was shot in the stomach in Aiken. You are a biggott plain and simple. You want to start controversay in the name of our people, but you want to blame whites. Get your lazy a** off your mothers couch, get a job, a house and family. Pay some bills and when one of your homebowyz break into your house and steal everything, lets hear you racist rants. I speak for all the sane, hardworking black folks when I say, SHUT UP!!

gamc30909
0
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gamc30909 12/21/08 - 10:19 pm
0
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SMHwhatamessthisis Once again

SMHwhatamessthisis Once again you show you ignorance with improper numbers.

triscuit
3266
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triscuit 12/21/08 - 11:02 pm
0
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Drugs or not, this guy was

Drugs or not, this guy was killed because HE tried to run over and kill the cops. If he had cooperated, he'd still be alive. Probably in jail again, for a few days, but still alive. As far as welfare stats, yes whites edge out blacks by a few percentage points, but blacks are the great majority of residents in public housing.

fedupfedupfedup
0
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fedupfedupfedup 12/21/08 - 11:05 pm
0
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oh my gosh.....ww1949, are

oh my gosh.....ww1949, are you hiring? i am hard working, dependable, i don't do drugs, raising my grandaughter, my husband and i just bought a home in sept and he became unemployed a month ago, my cleaning business is all but gone due to the economy. oh, and i have no criminal record....i obey the law, and respect all law enforcement. we have sons in the military and are very proud of them. we raised our sons with morals and values and feel that we have alot to offer to an employer. i am very serious about all of this. we are not on welfare, even though we would qualify, we would rather make due with what we have than to deal with the system that is so dysfunctional anyway. there are too many sitting back and having baby after baby, while we support them with tax dollars. this is wrong any way you look at it. i just want a job. i want to work. i have bills to pay. we have a grandaughter to raise, my husband is working now, but at a rate of 10.00 less per hour than he would have normaly made. we just want to be productive parts os society.

jack2006
106
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jack2006 12/21/08 - 11:20 pm
0
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To be truthful, I figured

To be truthful, I figured that no matter whether you are rich or poor, all black males in Augusta from the age of 15 - 25 are at risk. We as a community are failing them. It doesn't matter where they live, we are failing them. No more excuses! If we need something to talk about, then let's find a solution to this problem in a positive way. Come out of the closet and take a positive stand. Stop turning away! We refuse to educate them. Yes, we refuse to educate them so that they can move forward with their life. We rather kick them out of school and down every chance that we get. Do you care for them walking the streets all day long while we are at work for them to kick in your back door? We are creating our own h*ll. What are we really afraid of? Is it that they may get an education and become better than us? Or do we want to continue to suppress, depress, and repress them so that they can't go any farther in life except for the life of crime. Forget about their parents and how they are raised. If we want a change, then we must educate them and show them a positive way of life instead helping them to the bad way of life. Get them educated and out of Augusta to stay alive!

KSL
144118
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KSL 12/21/08 - 11:24 pm
0
0
You are correct triscuit. It

You are correct triscuit. It would have been yet another non-violent arrest or questioning of him if the police determined the ammo or whatever had been legal and the vehicle was not stolen. Obviously he knew he had overstepped some ground and he was not going to get off with a simple on sight interrogation. After all, he had failed to appear in court and was in a bit of arrears with his fine paying, although he was providing diapers and drugs to some of the residents of the aforementioned "project."

KSL
144118
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KSL 12/21/08 - 11:32 pm
0
0
And, I forgot. Based on what

And, I forgot. Based on what SMH, (or SHM,) or whatever, the deceased was gainfully employed in a family business. So much for his family members helping him out paying his outstanding fines. So much for him paying them with the fruits of his gainful and legal employment. I was about to type a real insult to your intelligence. I stopped.

fedupfedupfedup
0
Points
fedupfedupfedup 12/21/08 - 11:32 pm
0
0
some people choose thier life

some people choose thier life of crime rather than to work hard and follow the rules that we all must follow in life, laws are in place for a reason....morals and values start in the home but we as parents can only take our children so far and then they (the children ) make thier own decisions of the path they follow....
the easy path is often the one that will keep them on the wrong side of the law. it was his choice of the path he took. you make your bed, you lie in it.....

Searching 4 the facts
0
Points
Searching 4 the facts 12/22/08 - 02:11 am
0
0
Romans 2:1 So you have no

Romans 2:1

So you have no reason, whoever you are, for judging: for in judging another you are judging yourself, for you do the same things

For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, The afflicted also, and him who has no helper.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 12/22/08 - 05:32 am
0
0
Judging a person is one thing

Judging a person is one thing but to judge and condemn a sin is entirely another...Self-defense is part of living...I suggest most out their today would protect yourselves or your loved ones from the narcissistic criminal...The aforementioned criminal seemed totally bent upon destroying anyone who came between himself and freedom...He was wrong...His choices were wrong...He paid the price...God judges the persons actions...He gives us rules to live by and if we don't live by them then that leads to paths that are sometime lethal...All actions have an opposite reaction...All sin has consequences...We are to pray for the sinner, our laws are set down to judge the wrong actions...God has the ultimate last word not man...It really is wrong to always fall back on a passage of scripture whenever one feels like condemning another in order to justify someone's criminal behaviors...

devojoe
0
Points
devojoe 12/22/08 - 07:51 am
0
0
usnvet you were in the

usnvet you were in the military
? With your attitude you must of got booted out early, it's obvious you don't like rules or laws either. Live by the rules and life will work out. If you think someone should have the right to run over a person with a car, your a moron. The guy had no respect for the law or himself.

ITDoc
1
Points
ITDoc 12/22/08 - 08:22 am
0
0
Forget about their parents

Forget about their parents and how they are raised. If we want a change, then we must educate them and show them a positive way of life instead helping them to the bad way of life. Get them educated and out of Augusta to stay alive!
Posted by jack2006 on Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:20 PM
If a person does not want to raise a child, they should exercise birth control like an intelligent human instead of just rutting away like a common animal. If you want to do their jobs, please provide your information to adoption agencies and YDC. Asking ALL of us to do those parents jobs just shows it's not only "share the wealth" it's also "share the responsibility for those who just don't give a damn to try". No Sale. Case Closed, Even a blind man can see that.

sueboo418
37
Points
sueboo418 12/22/08 - 10:11 am
0
0
SMH needs to take a grammar

SMH needs to take a grammar class badly. I can hardly make sense of what they are trying to say. LOL

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