Ronald Cotton Case Study

866 Words 4 Pages
When a Suspect and a Victim Become Friends
On January 16th, 1985, Ronald Cotton was convicted of the two counts of burglary and two counts of rape. He pleaded not guilty throughout the trial, but he was found guilty by the court. There were many factors that sent him to prison, such as: his prior criminal record, the three factors that can influence an officer’s use of discretion, the evidence against him, and more. After 10 years in prison, he was exonerated by DNA testing. Not long after, Jennifer and he became friends. This essay, it will cover the many factors that got Ronald arrested, convicted, and sent to prison, what Jennifer and Ronald’s shared experience is and how they were able to make a friendship work, and what law makers can
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When he was in third grade, he stole money from Hewitt’s BBQ with his brother. As he got older, he was charged with breaking and entering with intent to rape at 16. He was drinking that night and went into this girl’s house. He thought he could fool around with the girl, who was white, so he climbed into her bed with her in it, but he was caught by her mother. After he served over a year for that crime, he made more mistakes and got caught for breaking and entering. The next factor is the seriousness of the offense. The more serious the offense is, the less discretion the officer has to arrest. Ronald Cotton was charged with first-degree burglary, rape, and sexual offense. He was sentenced to prison for life plus fifty years. Rape is a serious offense, where a police officer will not hesitate to arrest …show more content…
When people are very young or very old, the police often do not arrest them. As a child, he only got a court date for him stealing money. When he messed up at 16, he served 18 months in a youth center when he could have gotten 50-95 years. He was 22 when he was arrested for the rape of Jennifer Thompson. The fourth factor is race. Race has shown sometimes to influence officers’ discretion and decision to arrest. Racial trends show a greater likelihood of arrest when the victim is white. Jennifer and Mary are both white and Ronald is black. When the police officers looked at Cotton, they already assumed it was him because of his priors with the girl he liked and his white girlfriend. The fifth factor is class. Ronald’s family is relatively poor because they lived in a small house. At first, his bail was set at $150,000, and his father said he could probably pay $50,000, if they got it down that low. After they convicted Ronald of both rapes, his bail was set at $450,000. The poor are more likely to be arrested than the middle and upper class. The sixth factor is 1st time offenders. Police officers will sometimes give a break for first-time offenders, but since Ronald is not a first-time offender, he is not going to get any

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