Stupid decisions, lenient sentence

POSTED: 10/17/14 4:06 PM

St. Maarten – Roandy Anthony Jano made a couple of bad decisions in May – and he was the first one to admit that this was so. The Court in First Instance sentenced the 22-year-old yesterday for fencing a car and for firearm possession, but Judge Rick Smid sprang him from jail with a sentence of 15 months, of which 13 conditional, with 240 hours of community service. The verdict is significantly below prosecutor Tineke Kamps’ demand of 15 months (with 5 months conditional). The court imposed 2 years of probation.

Jano’s first mistake was to buy a car – for which he paid $9,000 – that had obviously been stolen. The seller had tampered with the VIN-number and the bill of sale made clear that something was amiss: the document is dated May 6, while the owner reported the car stolen on May 22. Nevertheless, he took the car through the vehicle inspection and insured it. In the meantime, Jano has renounced ownership of the car, after realizing that the papers were not in order.

His second mistake was to hang on to a handgun with ammunition.

The defendant read a statement in court in which he admitted that had taken bad decisions. He also said that he had no plans to use the gun. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” he said.

Prosecutor Kamps appreciated the defendant’s statement, but she made clear that he had taken two stupid decisions. She asked the court to acquit Jano of car theft, but to sentence him for intentional fencing and for firearm possession.

Attorney Geert Hatzmann agreed with the prosecutor that his client is not guilty of car theft. “He paid quite a lot of money for it,” he said. “Many people do not know about tampering with VIN-numbers.” He asked the court to acquit Jano of intentional fencing and to pit the gun possession in perspective.

“If the police did a house search now, I think that they would find a gun in every other household. Compared to that, the number of firearm incidents is not that bad.”

Hatzmann contrasted the demand against his client with other cases and concluded, “Enough is enough.”

The attorney said that his client risks being kicked out of school if he does not report within the next twelve days. “I am used to work hard for what I want. With this situation I will end up without a diploma and be just another ex-convict,” the defendant said.

 

Jano spent already more than two months in detention after his arrest on August 10. “I ask the court for 15 months, with only the two months he already served unconditional and if need be community service.”

Judge Smid accommodated the attorney. He found no proof for car theft, but he considered intentional fencing proven. About the gun possession he said, “That was incredibly stupid, but on the other hand the court acknowledges that this defendant is a good boy.”

The Judge sentenced Jano to 15 months imprisonment, of which 13 months are suspended, and 240 hours of community service. “You will be free again today.” Jano accepted the verdict.

 

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