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No Jail Time for Ex-Deputy in Wheelchair Dumping Case

By Opal Shelton Colvin

A former Florida jail deputy, charged with dumping a disabled man out of his wheelchair in January, will not serve any prison time. In a pretrial agreement reached on June 30th, Charlette Marshall-Jones will be required to perform 100 hours of community service, permanently surrender her Florida law enforcement certification and pay court costs. According to authorities, Marshall-Jones, 44, dumped Brian Sterner, 32, out of his wheelchair at the Orient Road Jail in Tampa, Fla., on January 29th of this year. She was charged with abuse of the disabled, a third-degree felony, and dismissed from her job as a Hillsborough County deputy. If convicted, Marshall-Jones could have received up to five years in prison. The agreement between Marshall-Jones and the prosecutor’s office eliminated the need for a trial.

The arrangement was agreed to by Sterner, who had suggested that the former deputy be required to do community service instead of serving jail time. Sterner requested that the former deputy work with the disabled while doing her community service. As part of the agreement, her community service will be performed with the rehab unit at Tampa General Hospital. Marshall-Jones will have 18 months to complete the mandatory 100 hours.

Neither Marshall-Jones nor Sterner had any comment on the matter.

Once the terms of the agreement are met, the criminal portion of the case will end. Sterner has initiated a civil suit against the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department had no comment on the pending case.

The prosecutor’s office acknowledged that allowing Sterner to have input on Jones’ punishment was a good move.

Some members of the disabled community stated that they had hoped Marshall-Jones would be required to serve some jail time as part of the agreement. Most, however, seemed satisfied with the outcome of the case.

One who wished to remain unidentified said: “I guess there was some concern with the idea of giving active time to a former law enforcement officer. I think if Mr. Sterner is satisfied with the way this issue has been resolved, the rest of us should be too. I’m glad that the victim was allowed to have a say on what the punishment would be.”

Mike Maddox, Sterner’s attorney, said that his client believes that when Marshall-Jones works with people with disabilities, she will gain a better understanding of them.

“He (Sterner) is not a vindictive man,” Maddox said. “He holds no personal grudges against Ms. Jones.”

He also said that Sterner indicated to him that he wished the incident had never happened.

Penny Reeder became blind as a result of retinopathy of prematurity. She lives with her husband and their six children in Montgomery Village, Md.

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