That was the question facing Joshua Terrance Bowman, 29 of Waldorf, when he came before Charles County Circuit Court Judge Helen I. Harrington Thursday, Jan. 22 at Charles County Circuit Court in La Plata.
Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Freeman told Harrington that Bowman was before her for sentencing for failure to pay restitution related to a 2009 theft from Starbucks Coffee.
Public Defender Chris Stuart argued that his client had made three payments of $100 to the Baltimore office, but noted that none of those payments have been registered.
“He brought another $100 today,” Stuart said. “I am requesting a continuance so that he can continue to pay restitution.
“Of all my clients, Mr. Bowman has the brightest future,” he argued. “He is attending Howard University, a prestigious university. He has a 3.0 GPA and is applying to graduate school for human development.
“He does get financial aid,” Stuart added. “He is doing the best that he can do. When he graduates, he is hoping to go to graduate school. To think of incarcerating him in my opinion is beyond reasoning. He has had no problems on probation. It’s only the money.”
“We know nothing about the $100 payments,” Freeman said. ‘The court has already extended probation to November 2014. It’s not just about the money. It’s been that way for over a year. I’m asking to go forward.”
“The court had ordered that restitution in the amount of $2,019 be paid by today,” Harrington said. “He’s not even close.”
“He’s out there alone,” Stuart countered. “His mother is deceased, he’s never known his father. He has no real family to borrow from. He is busy at a prestigious college. He gets financial aid but he has to live. This represents what little money he has. It’s not unusual for Baltimore to lose things. It’s all on record.”
Harrington told Bowman that while he had done a lot to better himself, “there’s a loose end, this restitution, you cannot forget.
“You need to pay $100 a month,” Harrington said. “Wait tables, rake leaves, mow lawns—whatever you need to do. There are ways you can spend your life other than being in court.”
Contact Joseph Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org