Judge: We've all been 19


Associated Press

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 17 at 1:01 PM

DETROIT (AP) — A judge in Detroit says, "We've all been 19." He's defending his decision to sentence Latrez Cummings to just six months in jail for an assault on a motorist. Prosecutors said the sentence was too lenient.

The 19-year-old is among five people who've pleaded guilty to assaulting Steve Utash, who was in a coma for days after the attack. The mob had pounced on him after he got out of his pickup truck to help a 10-year-old who had stepped in front of his vehicle.

Cummings was the last defendant to be sentenced. The longest prison sentence was nearly six and a-half years for a man whose punishment was enhanced because of his criminal record.

During today's hearing, in response to the judge's questioning, Cummings said his father hadn't been around when he was growing up.

The judge responded that Cummings needed a dad -- someone to, in the judge's words, "beat the hell out of you when you made a mistake, as opposed to allowing you or encouraging you to do it to somebody else."

The judge said Cummings' childhood was also a factor in the decision to sentence him to just six months.

The prosecutor argued that there are many young black men who were raised without a father but haven't committed crimes.

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APPHOTO MIDTN102: Latrez Cummings stands before Judge James Callahan to hear sentencing, for his role in the mob beating of Steve Utash, at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit, Mich., on Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Detroit News,Charles V. Tines) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT (17 Jul 2014)

<<APPHOTO MIDTN102 (07/17/14)££