Another Criminal Effectively Gets Away with Burglary
On the morning of June 8th, 2011, Dane Barry Coleman was apprehended by police while burglarizing a residence in our neighborhood. This particular defendant first came under our radar in January of 2010, when he was arrested in the neighborhood for vehicle theft and other felony charges. In the period leading up to the June 8th arrest he had been observed frequently in various states of intoxication, and interacting heavily with the street drug culture surrounding Ponce & Boulevard. His suspicious activity in the neighborhood generated several 911 calls in the weeks leading up to his latest burglary event.
Coleman has demonstrated a very intensive pattern of serious criminal activity that highlights the necessity of a patrol and public safety program like ours. In researching this individual, we have found by way of public records that he has an extensive criminal history, with several rather short periods of incarceration arising from convictions in multiple jurisdictions. We also understand that his official criminal history prints out to 37 pages. The kinds of sentences given Mr. Coleman to date have clearly failed to reach him, and after each conviction he resumes a criminal way of life.
His case ended in a negotiated plea of five years probation conditioned upon drug rehab. Even though his official criminal history prints out to nearly 40 pages, he will not face another period of incarceration. Fulton Superior Court Judge Doris Downs presided over the case, and doled out this sentence to drug court rather than prison time, despite his extensive criminal history and several previous periods of incarceration. Judge Downs also oversees the drug court program in Fulton County. According to the Fulton County Superior Court’s website, approximately 200 drug-addicted criminal defendants participate in this “highly structured treatment program lasting from 12 to 18 months.” and further states that she reviews the individual progress of the participants.
Coleman has clearly shown over and over by way of his criminal history that, when left to his own devices, he will pro-actively pursue a criminal way of life in places like our neighborhood. Cases like this lead us to seriously question the effectiveness of the drug court program. Considering Coleman’s years of criminal history, how can we not expect a negative and detrimental effect upon the safety and quality of life in our community?