Jury Acquits Teen Who Was Target of St. Louis Chief’s Blog

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A St. Louis jury acquitted a teenager who was the subject of a blog post by Police Chief Sam Dotson criticizing judges for being too lenient on defendants charged with gun crimes, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. In February, Armond Calvin, 18, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. He was brought back to court for violating the terms of his bail, and sent home with an ankle bracelet to await trial. On May 22, Dotson said, Calvin was riding in a car involved in a fatal accident. Two stolen assault rifles and a .45-caliber pistol with a defaced serial number were found in the car. Calvin was charged with possession of the defaced weapon.

“Do you know what the bond is for our suspect for having a defaced firearm while awaiting trial for possession of a gun and resisting arrest? $2,500. SERIOUSLY,” Dotson wrote in his blog. “Thank judge Calea Stovall-Reid. Sarcasm intended.” Calvin’s bail for the initial case, for possessing a gun and resisting arrest, was set to $30,000 after he violated court terms. His attorney, Robert Taaffe, believes Calvin spent six months in jail because judges were too intimidated by Dotson’s blog to lower his bail before trial. Calvin could not afford the $2,500 cash-only bail. “When you see the police chief and whatever politicians talk of judges and bonds, the courts are sensitive to that issue and they’re going to respond,” Taafee said. “Sometimes justice is done and not done as a result of political pressure put on the judiciary.”

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