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Teen is freed after serving a year for shoving aide

March 31, 2007|From the Associated Press

DALLAS — A 15-year-old black girl who was given an indefinite sentence for shoving a teacher's aide will be released today to her mother after a year of incarceration, a state lawmaker said Friday.

The case of Shaquanda Cotton roiled civil rights activists nationwide when it came to prominence in a Chicago Tribune article this month.

Cotton's sentence last year, on a felony count of shoving the teacher's aide before the morning bell at Paris High School in 2005, could have lasted until her 21st birthday. The aide was not seriously injured.

Activists said the fact that the same judge sentenced a white 14-year-old to probation for burning down her house signaled racial bias. The judge and prosecutors have said the white girl's family was willing to meet probation terms whereas Cotton's was less cooperative.

Texas Rep. Harold Dutton, a Democrat who leads the state House juvenile justice committee, said he was informed of Cotton's pending release by Jay Kimbrough, whom Gov. Rick Perry named to temporarily lead the scandal-ridden Texas Youth Commission this week.

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