Pubdate: Thu, 10 Mar 2016
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2016 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Monica Vaughan
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)


A Florida-based deputy U.S. marshal who robbed drug dealers of 
marijuana at gunpoint then pointed a firearm at an officer as he fled 
through Yuba City in 2014 was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday.

Clorenzo Griffin, 38, was the last of three defendants sentenced by 
U. S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller.

Andre Jamison, 40, was sentenced to seven years and three months and 
Rodney Rackley, 24, to six years.

Griffin previous pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a robbery 
affecting interstate commerce. In the weeks before the sentencing 
hearing, prosecutors argued he be sentenced to 12 years in prison, in 
part, due to his violation of the public's trust as a peace officer.

His defense team cited Griffin's childhood history of trauma in their 
arguments for a lower sentence.

Federal prosecutors argued Griffin was the ring leader of the 
conspiracy that required three men to fly across the country and 
obtain firearms and ballistic police vests they then used to set up 
and rob marijuana traffickers in the parking lot of a Yuba City hotel 
on Highway 99 on Oct. 11, 2014.

"The defendant's position as a deputy United States marshal at the 
time of his crimes stands apart from most defendants sentenced by 
this court. As a member of law enforcement, he abused the public 
trust placed in sworn peace officers," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason 
Hitt said in a court filing.

With 24 pounds of stolen marijuana stashed in their rented Jeep, 
Griffin drove as they attempted to flee, leading a California Highway 
Patrol officer in a pursuit, court documents say.

After they stopped in a business center on Starr Drive, Griffin ran 
toward the Sutter County Sheriff's Department on Civic Center 
Boulevard. As an officer approached him, Griffin pointed a firearm at 
the officer. In response, a nearby sheriff's deputy fired a shot at 
Griffin, who dropped his .40 caliber firearm and was arrested.

His co-defendants were found hiding nearby a garbage dumpster.

Mueller noted during the sentencing hearing Griffin was very lucky 
that nothing worse happened.

Griffin's life was filled with traumatic events, his defense team 
argued. He was abused from age 4 to 11, and his most important 
childhood role model, his half-brother, was murdered at age 16 when 
Griffin was 14, a court filing by defense attorney Brian Bieber said.

Griffin was raised by his grandmother, as his mother was addicted to 
drugs, and his father was uninvolved in his life. Bieber argued those 
events directly related to Griffin's difficulties with depression, 
alcohol and drug abuse.
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