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Lady Legal Eagle

Civil Rights Activists, Legal Analysts

State v. Foster

Marcus Foster an affiliate of the Heartless Felons gang went on a one-man crime spree on the west-side of Cleveland last Monday. Apparently, he woke up on the wrong side of the cell.

Residents in the Brooklyn Centre Neighborhood had no idea that they would be victims of random violence.

It began as any other day for residents in this community, up until a woman witnessed a man open fire on passengers in an SUV that was driving down the street. She immediately tried to retreat to her home, when Marcus Foster turned his aggression towards her. He attacked her and forced himself into her home at gunpoint. Once inside, he led the woman upstairs only to assault and pistol whip a second victim who was also in the house. After Foster had finished terrorizing his prey, he ran outside only to violate yet a third victim.

Fortunately, while this crime was taking place, police were arriving on the scene. Authorities say that it appeared as if Foster was reaching for a weapon, but instead he took off running. The police pursued Foster on foot until he was eventually apprehended and taken into custody. Foster currently sits in jail on a $50,000 bond awaiting arraignment.

Records show that this is not Foster’s first run in with the law. In fact, he has an extensive criminal history including a case as recent as 2010 where he pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery charges. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison and 5 years of post-release control.

When considering the fact that Foster was in possession of a firearm under a disability, was in violation of his post release control, and committed several criminal acts, prosecutors should be able to overcome probable cause and rise above the standard of proving guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The difference between probable cause and reasonable doubt is that probable cause demonstrates, more than likely that an individual engaged in the commission or conclusion of a crime. Whereas, beyond a reasonable doubt implies that the evidence can prove that a person committed a crime and will be convicted. Nevertheless, though this seems like an open and shut case, will the evidence be strong enough to keep Foster behind bars for a significant amount of time?

Prosecutors will have the task of reviewing the Ohio Revised Codes, or “laws” to determine the charges and punishment suitable to secure an indictment leading to conviction.

Based on the acts committed, Foster could be charged with kidnapping, abduction, felonious assault, assault, possession of a firearm under a disability, committing a felony on post release control, aggravated menacing, aggravated burglary, and resisting arrest.

The defense attorney in this case has his work cut out for him in trying to convince a prosecutor, judge and/or jury, why their client should not be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

One strategy for the defense would be to demonstrate socioeconomic disadvantages and abuse if any, that Foster suffered as a child. This may seem like a cope out, but if true, could establish that there are some psychological, mental health, and possibly substance abuse impairments. Another argument if plausible, would be to downplay Foster’s crime spree to an act of survival based on his gang affiliation; or perhaps and if valid, making a case linking the alleged “victims’ to a deal gone bad.

Foster knows how the system works and is no stranger to courtroom procedures, so it wouldn’t be a surprise for Foster to accept either a count plea or charge plea. It is equally important to note that despite any type of plea agreement, a judge does not have to adopt the prosecutor’s recommendations.

With prima facie (first look) evidence, and in consideration of the gravity of societal harm, the conclusion of this case may end with the Judge imposing a prison term ranging from 10-15 years according to federal sentencing guidelines. Since Foster committed several crimes that meet the conditions of felony 1 or 2 offenses, the assumption of 10-15 years, perhaps more is substantiated.

Foster is probably confident that his sentence will be lenient, as in previous cases. However, this may be the one in which he receives his “just desert.”

As we follow this case in the media, I am sure that it will be full of twist and turns, but for now “Case Closed.”

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