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Local man sentenced for 2007 violent crimes

Posted on September 08, 2010 3:00 AM EST

A local man finally entered a plea after being arrested in 2007 for various violent crimes that occurred over a 24 hour period. Wayne Proctor was only 19 years-old when he allegedly committed the crimes for which he was charged. He has been held in custody without a bond since his arrest over three years ago. He appeared before a circuit court judge with his Miami criminal defense lawyer and entered a guilty plea into seven counts of armed robbery with a firearm, once count of attempted armed robbery and two counts of aggravated battery. Prior to entering the plea, the defendant and his counsel had negotiated a sentence of 15 years in state prison.

As part of the plea agreement, the assistant state attorney handling the case agreed to nolle pros or dismiss charges including armed sexual battery and armed kidnapping as part of the negotiated plea agreement. On many occasions, prosecutors will nolle pros or dismiss charges as part of a plea agreement. This is an important strategy for a defense attorney to pursue especially because pleas to prior crimes can be used to enhance or increase sentences for future offenses. As such, charge bargaining is an important part of any plea negotiation.

The defendant was accused of several separate crimes which occurred over several hours. Proctor was alleged to have committed a kidnapping of a Miami Gardens woman and pistol whipping her prior in order to steal her purse and money. The defendant then committed an armed kidnapping and armed robbery against tourists from St. Kitts. Police reports charged the defendant with stealing $60 dollars from the couple, then committing a sexual battery against the woman. The defendant then allegedly robbed three tourists at gunpoint of their jewelry and cell phones. Despite the violent nature of the offense, the defendant only received five years in prison despite the fact that he was facing several life sentences.

There are several factors that led to the 15 year plea offer. The defendant was only 19 at the time of the offense and had limited prior contacts with the criminal justice system. Although not mentioned in any of the police reports, defense counsel probably argued that his client's actions were not based on a violent criminal disposition, but rather he committed the acts to facilitate a raging drug addiction. The criminal lawyer representing Proctor most probably compiled a lengthy mitigation packet and delivered it to the prosecution and the judge for consideration. Mitigation packets are effective tools used to persuade both judges and prosecutors that a defendant's actions can be explained based on childhood shortcomings or substance addictions. Whatever strategy was employed by the defense in this case, it was very effective in light of the time the defendant was facing.

Teen Gets 15 Years in Miami Crime Spree, The Miami Herald.com, August 26, 2010.
Categories: Violent Crimes