A verdict was laid down Aug. 19 against the man accused of robbing a Fairland Family Dollar with a pellet gun in Nov. 2012. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison according to a statement from the Montgomery County State Attorney's office. This includes concurrent sentences of 15 years for armed robbery and 10 years each for two counts of second-degree assault that occurred during the robbery. He was found not guilty on two counts of first-degree assault, according to court records.
According to the police report, he threatened two employees with his pellet gun and got $1,100 before fleeing the scene. He was found by police hours later and allegedly ran when they attempted to apprehend him. He reportedly attempted to flee again in July 2013 during his arraignment hearing when he ran out of the courtroom, but he was caught by authorities and brought back to stand trial.
Defense attorneys may be able to help clients get a better deal by offering them counsel on how to comport themselves in court. In the case of the alleged Family Dollar robber, an attorney may have been able to get a lesser sentence by introducing doubt into the case regarding improper police conduct or questioning witness testimony. An attorney may have also been able to get the defendant a better deal involving less jail time if it could be shown that the crime was committed out of necessity to support his family.
For instance, police officers reportedly discharged their weapons when apprehending the defendant. This could have been an opportunity to introduce doubt regarding police conduct. A defense attorney may be able to go over details like this that could have been missing or glossed over in the police report and bring them up as important details in a court proceeding. This could make the difference between the maximum and minimum sentence or even a guilty or an innocent verdict.
Source: Silver Spring Patch, "Fairland Family Dollar Robber Sentenced Monday", Tiffany Arnold, August 19, 2013