Of course this happened in Texas. Where else would a profoundly mentally handicapped guy get 100 years in prison for anything? But Aaron Hart got 100 years based on five different charges stemming from the same crime. By the sounds of it, it was quite the railroading.
From what I understand, Aaron Hart has an IQ of 47 and they put him at about the mental capacity of a second-grader. He was living with his parents, doing little chores for neighbours. One evening, he was mowing the neighbour’s lawn. Somehow, he ended up in the back shed with her six-year-old step-son and when they were found, Hart was fondling the boy. He was arrested.
Now, I am never one to try and say a sexual offense wasn’t really that bad, but try and remember being a little kid. Hasn’t there ever been a time when kids have said “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”? I’m wondering if that’s what happened. I mean, if both boys had about the same mental capacity, maybe that’s all it was.
Next thing Hart knew, he was being taken away. He didnt’ even know why, and wondered if he was going to get paied for mowing the lawn. he was not read a special version of the Miranda rights for people who have cognitive disabilities, and before he knew it, he had confessed to five felonies.
then he was appointed a public defender who didn’t do a very good job. He didn’t ask for special accommodations, and Hart was assessed by a doctor to see if he was competent to stand trial. but the tests he used were for people with psychiatric disorders, not for people with developmental delays, so Hart was deemed competent.
Next, when the jury was trying to figure out what would happen to him if they found him guilty and asked if there were other options than prison, the judge wouldn’t give them a clear answer. They thought the sentences would be made concurrent, so were shocked when the judge stacked them. *Clang!* 100 years for the guy.
What a horrible chain of events. I’m surprised they didn’t try and fry the guy. This is Texas, after all.