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A youth sports punch can get you six years in the clink

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I haven’t seen a punishment this severe for an assault on youth sports personnel, but maybe six years in prison should be a warning to any parent who goes nuts over kids’ athletics — at least to any parent with priors.

From the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn.:

A Minneapolis man will serve six years in prison for punching the commissioner of a Burnsville youth sports association in the face after a sixth-grade basketball game [Feb. 13]

Robin Johnson, 49, also was ordered in Dakota County District Court to pay more than $14,200 in restitution and have no contact with the victims, who were not identified in court Wednesday. Johnson pleaded guilty in June to felony first-degree assault.

According to witnesses, Johnson was taunting at a player to make him miss — during a sixth-grade house league game. Commissioner Jeff Shaud asked him to stop, and when Johnson didn’t, Shaud got out his cellphone to call police. Johnson slapped it out of his hand, and then punched Shaud in the face to register his disagreement with the commissioner.

Police said Johnson landed multiple punches before being subdued by others in the crowd, most notably by a crowd member who kicked him in what my 7-year-old likes to call the “sheen.” (Not named after Charlie, but it could be.)

One of the amazing things about men is that no matter how many times they watch this, they will find it funny. And they will grab their man parts.

As youth sports parents and coaches, we’ve all dealt with nuts, and I don’t mean the kind that Robin Johnson was holding after he was kicked. Often, when writing about these folks, the assumption is they are otherwise normal people who get caught up in the youth sports moment. Alas, if that were always true. Often, many of these nuts bring their nuttiness with them. Johnson, for example, had issues that ranged far beyond his feeling on sixth-grade free throws.

Again, from the Pioneer Press:

In a separate case, Judge Michael Mayer also sentenced Johnson to a year of jail for violating a protection order, a gross misdemeanor, said Monica Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Dakota County attorney’s office. Johnson will serve the sentences concurrently. …

Previously, Johnson was convicted in June for violating an order for protection, in 2007 for giving police false information and violating an order for protection, and in 1997 for fifth-degree assault and fifth-degree domestic assault.

So if you’re the type who punches people at random… well, stop. But, please, don’t come to the kids’ games. If you do, there might already be a prison bunk being made up for you.

Written by rkcookjr

November 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Crime and the NHL draft, the aftermath Part II

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The defendant, his attorneys and his family are certainly breathing a sigh of relief that the teenager convicted on manslaughter charges for killing a rugby opponent will not see a day in jail. Very likely, so are the New York Islanders.

The now 18-year-old defendant, 16 at the time of crime, got sentenced in Ontario to one year’s probation, 100 hours of community service and anger management counseling for the 2007 incident, in which he picked up Manny Castillo, 15, and slammed him on his head, pinching his spinal cord. Castillo died at a hospital a few days later. The sentence was what the attorney for the defense (or in Canada, the defence) had requested. From CTV:

The judge determined [the defendant]  “did not set out to commit a crime” but that his actions were the result of his “highly competitive instincts.”

“The tragic consequences went far beyond what could have been expected,” he said.

“In some cases, accountability is largely achieved by guilt and this is one of those cases,” he added. “I held him accountable when I found him guilty of manslaughter. It recognizes the harm done.”

Castillo’s family, in their victim’s statement, detailed how their lives have gone downhill since Manny’s death. His father said his wife and younger son cry themselves through sleepless nights, and that they can no longer celebrate special events. The only light is that five people have survived thanks to Manny’s organs.

Manuel Castillo did not comment on the sentence. But the Mexican immigrant took aim at Canada’s national sport outside the courtroom. He blamed hockey’s culture of fighting after the whistle for giving the defendant, an Ontario Hockey League major junior player, the idea that going after his son was OK. From the Toronto Star:

“This was not a hockey or rugby incident,” [Manuel Castillo] said outside of the courthouse. “It’s about some hockey coaches who don’t know how to teach kids.”

The defendant has never been identified, per Canada’s juvenile justice laws. But as I mentioned in previous posts about this case, it’s very easy to find the player’s name (and that the Islanders drafted him). Perhaps the judge is right that two or three years in custody, which the prosecution sought, would not do anyone any good. But prepare to barf in a few years if this player makes it to the NHL, and a gauzy story about him overcoming hardships airs during one of his games.

Written by rkcookjr

July 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm