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White Lawyer Takes Misdemeanor Plea; Black Youth Faces 20-Year Prison Term

Posted Jun 18, 2007 9:31 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Their crimes, arguably, are quite similar. Both were accused of shooting at another person. Both say they didn't. And, fortunately, nobody was seriously injured in either case.

But the resulting punishment faced by two Florida men is quite different. A well-connected white former prosecutor has taken a misdemeanor plea, which carries a one-year term of probation. Meanwhile, a black youth is to be tried this fall in a felony case and potentially faces a 20-year prison sentence, if convicted, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Prosecutors say different circumstances justified the different approaches in the cases of Robert G. Walker Jr., 59, a lawyer and former city attorney of Clearwater, and Josh Cobb, 20, who is unemployed, has no adult criminal record and, as the newspaper puts it, "doesn't know anyone important." But Cobb's mother, a 47-year-old Pinellas County clerk, says the main difference she sees between the two cases is the defendant's position in life. "Should my son be treated differently because he doesn't have money?" she asks? "Is this justice?"

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