Defender: 9 years for 16-year old sneaker thief morally wrong

September 16, 2016 06:31 PM

ALBANY - The case of an Albany teenager currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for stealing a pair of sneakers was before the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court on Friday.

Marquis Dixon was 16 years old in 2013 when he was convicted of stealing a pair of sneakers from another teen. The first-degree robbery conviction came because the victim testified Dixon lifted his shirt and displayed what he thought was a gun.

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There was standing room only inside the tiny Appellate Division courtroom, many people from the community were there to support Dixon’s cause.

Whether or not Dixon actually had a gun was just one point of contention.

Dixon's court-appointed attorney Carolyn George also argued that trial court Judge Thomas Breslin should have considered youthful offender status in determining Dixon’s sentence.

"This case has attracted notoriety because it is morally wrong for a teenager with no past criminal convictions to be sentenced to nine years in an adult prison," noted George.

WEB EXTRA: Carolyn George

"The defendant tries to make it sound as if we lack proof on the element of having displayed what appeared to be a gun. As has been observed, that's not true. The victim saw what he believed to be a gun. He described it in detail at trial and the other witness corroborated," retorted Christopher Horn, the assistant district attorney.

"It feels like it's going to be in favor of my son. I had butterflies at first but I feel great," noted Aisha Dixon, Marquis’ mom.

George was arguing for one of three outcomes -- to vacate the conviction, to have the lower court re-sentence Dixon as a youthful offender, or have the appellate division to set a lower sentence.

A decision is expected in about four to six weeks.

WEB EXTRA: Aisha Dixon, Marquis Dixon's mom

Coming up during our 90 minutes’ news block and on, you'll hear Chief Judge Karen Peters in her own words declare why she believes mistakes were made by the lower court. You'll also hear from Dixon. NewsChannel 13’s Dan Levy spoke with him by phone from his prison cell.


WNYT Staff

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