A nasty old lady was convicted in Oklahoma recently on a plea of guilty to multiple counts of felony child abuse for terrorizing her 7-year-old granddaughter while dressed as a witch. Few would argue, least of all me, that this wicked witchy woman deserved to be dealt with severely, but where was her lawyer when the judge cursed her with a sentence of three life terms in prison?
The 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights which guarantees to even the worst wicked and depraved of criminals the right to a lawyer for her defense, and that right has been interpreted to include the “effective assistance of counsel.” In short, the accused is entitled to a competent attorney to provide an effective defense.
Geneva Robinson, 51, admitted that she dressed up in a mask as "Nelda" the witch with her hands painted green to scare her granddaughter. She scratched the child’s neck, struck her face, hit her hand with a rolling pin, and cut her hair while she slept according to court records.
"What she did was horrific and what she did will forever impact this child and her siblings," said the Assistant District Attorney. "She deserves the same amount of mercy that she showed this child, and that's none."
OK, maybe this nasty witch indeed deserves a large dose of the same medicine she administered to her granddaughter, and perhaps even a prison sentence too, but life in prison; Really? Under these circumstances that seems way too harsh to me, especially in view of the fact that granny says she’s receiving treatment and taking medication for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
What does her lawyer have to say about all this?
Tanya Jones, Robinson's defense attorney, said Robinson lacked resources to control the child. "She understands she went too far,"
Is that all? Is that the sum and substance of her defense? Is that effective assistance of counsel? Do you think that a plea of insanity or diminished capacity might have been advisable?
Do you think that counsel might have offered a case for a more reasonable sentence all things considered? I guess not. This lawyer simply advised her client to plead guilty and watched her get hauled off to prison for life. My goodness; many murderers don’t get life sentences.
Joshua Granger, Robinson's boyfriend, was also sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of felony child abuse. He is expected to serve 30 years in prison.
What’s wrong with this picture?