Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jail abuse victim spares deputy from a trial

TAMPA — A former Hillsborough detention deputy will likely avoid jail time for dumping a quadriplegic inmate from his wheelchair.

She has her victim to thank.

Attorneys said Brian Sterner, the disabled man tossed onto the floor at the Orient Road Jail, agreed that a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders was a just resolution in the felony case against Charlette Marshall-Jones.

At Sterner's request, prosecutors added two special conditions to the 18-month diversion program Marshall-Jones entered Monday.

Marshall-Jones, 45, must perform 100 community service hours working with disabled individuals and surrender her detention deputy certification before the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office will drop her abuse of a disabled adult charge.

The third-degree felony carried up to five years in prison.

Sterner's attorney said his client was looking for awareness, not vengeance — but didn't rule out civil litigation.

"I think it's about having a sense of reasonableness," said attorney Michael Maddux. "I think there's room for forgiveness in every tragedy, and he's exercising it."

According to Maddux, Marshall-Jones could still be named as a defendant in any civil action his client pursues.

Caught on jailhouse videotape and blasted across the Web, the Jan. 29 incident became the wheelchair dump seen around the nation. A firestorm followed.

Sheriff David Gee called Marshall-Jones' actions "inexcusable" and "indefensible," then commissioned an independent citizen review of his jails. A flurry of inmates popped up with attorneys and further accusations of abuse by detention deputies.

Marshall-Jones, a 22-year Sheriff's Office employee with a mostly positive work history, resigned two days after getting arrested and booked into the very facility where her behavior came under scrutiny.

"Please be aware that it never was, nor never could be my intention to bring malicious harm or shame to anyone," she wrote in her Feb. 18 resignation letter.

The former detention deputy did not appear in court or speak with reporters Monday.

Her attorney, Norman Cannella Sr., previously had said his client's side of the story would come out at trial. On Monday, he said conversations with Sterner's attorney during the past month led to an agreement for the pretrial intervention program instead.

"She's happy that this matter is concluded," he said. "She wants to get on with her life, and this is a way to do so."

Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said Marshall-Jones committed "a very serious offense" but qualified for the diversion program because of her lack of a prior arrest history. She received three times the amount of community service hours ordered for most first-time offenders, Bondi said.

The Sheriff's Office had no comment on the sentence, spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

The case's legacy lives on.

The Independent Review Commission on Jails next meets July 11 and plans to issue a final report in September. In its preliminary report last month, the commission suggested more training in stress management and dealing with people with mental health and substance abuse problems for deputies who work in jail booking areas.

Though the group will eventually hear a full review of the internal affairs investigation into Marshall-Jones' actions, "we wanted to deal with the bigger picture, not just a single case," said chairman James Sewell.

Sterner, who has limited use of his arms after a wrestling injury left him paralyzed from the chest down, has been found competent to stand trial on the criminal charge that initially landed him in jail: fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer.

He has notified the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office of his intent to file suit in federal court unless a settlement is reached.

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Jail abuse victim spares deputy from a trial 06/30/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2008 5:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Britain lowers terror threat level to 'severe' as more arrested

    World

    MANCHESTER, England — Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch, from "critical" to "severe," as authorities said major progress has been made in unravelling the plot behind the Manchester bombing. More arrests are expected.

    An army bomb disposal team works with members of the police in the Moss Side area of Manchester, England, on Saturday. British police say they are evacuating residents around a house being searched in connection with the Manchester concert bombing. Police are searching a number of properties and have 11 suspects in custody in connection with Monday's explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which killed more than 20 people and injured dozens. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)
  2. Miami pollster Sergio Bendixen dies

    Blogs

    Sergio Bendixen, the first Hispanic to run a U.S. presidential campaign who later pioneered public-opinion polling among Latinos and other immigrant populations, died late Friday in Miami. He was 68.

    Sergio Bendixen.
  3. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  4. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Romano: When a life is more valuable than an arrest

    Public Safety

    Before examining the details, let's propose a question:

    This is a handout request to accompany school portraits of Joey Boylan, who died of a drug overdose and who is being written about in John Romano's column for Sunday. We'd like to run a mug of Joey with the column. Any of the first three attached pictures would be fine to use. We don't need them all. Just pick your favorite portrait and put that in the system. Thanks.