The Commerce Journal

November 28, 2013

Guilty plea, sentence in Commerce inmate escape

Lumpkinā€™s solicitation charge dismissed

The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — A local man pleaded guilty Monday to one count of escaping from the Commerce Police Department.

Lawrence Sherlock Lumpkin of Commerce had his previous conviction for the online solicitation of a minor dismissed, after the law was ruled unconstitutional within days after he pleaded guilty in October.

Lumpkin, 28, was sentenced Monday to two years in prison, with 515 days’ credit for time served.  Lumpkin was alleged in the charge to have escaped from officers from the Commerce Police Department while in custody in connection with the solicitation count.

Lumpkin was indicted by the Hunt County grand jury Jan. 25 on one count of online solicitation of a minor and one count of escape.

During an Oct. 23 hearing in the 196th District Court, Lumpkin pleaded guilty to the solicitation indictment.

The escape charge was dismissed, but Lumpkin accepted responsibility for the incident and the punishment he would have received was considered as part of his sentence.

Under a plea bargain arrangement, Lumpkin was sentenced to four years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division, with credit for time served, as Lumpkin had been in custody for 19 months.

The indictments alleged Lumpkin used the Internet or electronic mail to solicit a female under 17 years of age on or about March 26, 2012 and to have briefly escaped from two officers with the Commerce Police Department while at the time in custody at the Commerce City Jail on May 23, 2012, the day of his arrest.

But defense attorney Cariann Abramson filed a motion with the court, seeking a new trial in the case, noting the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Oct. 30 that the statute under which Lumpkin was convicted for solicitation was unconstitutional, as the wording was considered too broad and vague, and prohibited what has been considered constitutionally protected free speech.

The court agreed and granted the motion for a new trial.

The Hunt County District Attorney’s Office then drafted an information charge on the escape count, which was the subject of Monday’s hearing.

Both charges are third degree felonies, each punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 10 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.