Courtwatcher Orlando’s Laura Williams brings attention to the case of Loc Buu Tran:
2006-CF-014820-O In custody since 10/19/06 ~ Trial now scheduled for 11/16/09 with Judge John Adams. 1st Degree Murder. Allegedly stabbed a UCF student to death 10/06 when she tried to break up with him. Also was convicted 8 years ago in Clearwater for rape. Mistrial was declared 8/12/09 after Judge Jenifer Davis realized during the first witness’ testimony that she had worked on the case when in the PD’s office.
Why can’t we seem to get this guy tried?
Good question. The judge, who rose to the bench after working as a defense attorney, claims that she “didn’t remember” that she had previously represented Tran. How, exactly, does that happen in an extremely well-publicized murder case of a college student?
Judge Jennifer M. Davis was presiding over the case until she officially disqualified herself this morning on the grounds that she previously had worked in the public defender’s office as an attorney. Davis said she was part of Loc Tran’s defense.
“I’ve had this case for awhile,” Davis said. “It had not occurred to me I had worked in the office that initially represented this case, so legally I have no choice but to disqualify myself.”
Davis apologized to the jury and said she had worked as a supervisor with the attorneys defending the case. She said she didn’t realize until she heard the witness testimony from Nhat-Anh’s sister.
Here’s another question: why did Tran get probation from a judge in Clearwater, Florida in 1998 for the crime of burglary, sexual battery and kidnapping?
Probation for sexual assault. Pinellas County’s on-line records are sketchy, but it appears that some judge in Clearwater, Florida gave Tran mere probation in December of 1998 for several serious crimes including sexual assault. Think about that. Rape a woman, get probation. “First” offense, a freebie (though it appears it isn’t his first offense — a previous case is listed but there are no extant records). In other words, nobody bothered to prosecute him that time, so the rape became a second first offense. That makes the murder a fourth eighth offense.
There is a “sentencing guideline departure” page listed on the County website, but I can’t open that either. No kidding they departed.
I would love to hear the justification for granting probation for rape. Especially because Tran went on to take another woman’s life.
From what I can tell, and I’ll check on this after the holiday, after Loc Tran received probation for the 1998 rape, he went on to violate his probation with a fistful of credit card fraud charges which led to his finally being sentenced to prison in 2002.
Rape a woman, walk. Steal a credit card, and you’re going to the big house, buddy.
But not for very long. In July, 2002, Tran was sentenced to serve seven concurrent sentences of 3 years, two months each. Take a good look at the offenses, all telescoped down to one concurrent prison term. This is how crimes are disappeared by the courts every day, and victims are denied even the semblance of justice. Or safety.
Current Prison Sentence History: Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length 04/27/1998 BURGLARY ASSAULT ANY PERSON 07/24/2002 PINELLAS 9807111 3Y 2M 0D 04/27/1998 SEX BAT/INJURY NOT LIKELY 07/24/2002 PINELLAS 9807111 3Y 2M 0D 04/27/1998 KIDNAP;COMM.OR FAC.FELONY 07/24/2002 PINELLAS 9807111 3Y 2M 0D 04/27/1998 OBSTRUCT CRIME INVESTIGATION 07/24/2002 PINELLAS 9807111 3Y 2M 0D 12/22/2001 FRAUD-CREDIT-CARD 07/24/2002 PINELLAS 0120895 3Y 2M 0D 12/22/2001 FRAUD-CREDIT-CARD 07/24/2002 PINELLAS 0120895 3Y 2M 0D 12/22/2001 FRAUD-CREDIT-CARD 07/24/2002 PINELLAS 0120895 3Y 2M 0D
Then, of course, after letting Tran get away with a known rape for four years, then catching him violating his probation with several other charges, then sentencing him to an absurdly short prison term . . . well, why break a perfect record of sheer contempt for victims of crime, not to mention the safety of women? The State of Florida let him go early, after serving only 26 months of a 38 month sentence.
They also apparently trash-canned the rest of his probation, for good measure. It’s all about prisoner “re-entry,” you know. Probation’s a drag. How dare we ask judges to enforce the law when rapists need to be rehabilitated back into society and given job training and that all-important-help getting their voting rights reinstated (Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s weird hobbyhorse)?
As we know now, Tran “re-entered” society with a bang. A slash, really, stabbing a young woman to death when she tried to break up with him. Given the court’s repeated bungling of his case this time, you have to wonder if he’ll ever really be off the streets.
Take a good look at his face.
This is a man who knows there are no consequences for the crimes he commits against women. Expect endless, expensive appeals for him, and more of the same when he walks out of prison a second time.