It's Race Talk Monday

"A 67-year-old Arlington woman convicted last week of hitting a neighbor in the face with a 2-by-4 after shouting racial slurs and threats was sentenced on Monday to 180 days in jail and ordered to pay a $4,000 fine." This one was really complicated legally. The DA charged her with Aggravated Assault With A Deadly Weapon and also sought an "affirmative finding" by the jury that "the defendant intentinally selected the person against whom the offense was comitted . . . because of the defendant's bias or prejudice against a group identified by race [or] color." If they pulled that off, she would have been guilty of a First Degree Felony and subject to a term of confinement of 5 to 99 years/life (but could receive probation if she had no prior felony convictions.) But the jury found that no Deadly Weapon had been used and found her guilty of a Class A misdemeanor of assault. However, they did find that it was a hate crime. This finding meant that the range of punishment became 180 days to 1 year in jail with the possibility of probation. But if probation was granted, the judge, by law, had to impose 90 days in jail as a condition of the probation. (Told you it was confusing.) I think this is why the defense lawyers didn't even argue for probation. If they were to get it, the defendant would still have to do 90 days in jail. So since the Tarrant County Jail gives 3 for 1 credit, they sought the minimum jail time only and got it. In 60 days, she'll be out. Considering what the prosecution was seeking, I'd call that a defense win.