R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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2 Huston men sentenced in felony theft prosecution

Two man have been convicted on felony theft charges in connection with items taken from a truck earlier this year. The two Huston natives took pictures and incriminating videos of themselves and posted the items on their victim's iCloud account.

The two men stole the victim's iPad and cash from a truck parked at a residence. The images of the men bragging about the theft went viral and were posted on various social media sites sparking a national outcry. The two man plead guilty and will remain under community supervision for the next 5 years but will face no jail time. One of the men convicted will also have to pay restitution in the amount of $9,000 to the victim.

Plea bargaining can be an essential tool of the justice system that allows the efficient adjudication of criminal matters while still simultaneously allowing justice to be served and protection of those defendants' legal interests. While obtaining a plea bargains may not be the first consideration when evaluating a criminal case, it may sometimes be the best option because of the weight of the evidence of the accused and the facts and circumstances of the crime. Here, the defendants managed to create incriminating photos and videos of themselves with stolen items in a very specific and unambiguously public way. Therefore, a plea bargain that kept the two men out of jail was a clearly a more preferable alternative to a trial.

The ability to obtain a plea bargain depends on the established facts, evidence and discretion of the prosecuting attorney. Plea bargains are not guaranteed to anyone but whose pros and cons must always be evaluated on a case by case basis. It may be that trial is a more preferable alternative.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "'Burger King Ballin' YouTube stars plead guilty to felony theft," Craig Hlavaty, April 6, 2015

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