Promise of stiff sentences for Harvey looters fizzles

Texas
Looting warning Harvey loot

A sign warns possible looters outside a home damaged by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in Spring, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON (AP) — Harris County prosecutors promised looters arrested during Hurricane Harvey would face stiffer sentences but records show a majority of convictions so far have resulted in short or no jail terms.

Houston television station KPRC reports 74 percent of the 54 looting convictions brought a year or less behind bars.

In 18 cases, those convicted received deferred adjudication but no jail. And in several cases, the records show the “looting enhancement” allowing for harsher sentencing was dropped and the felony reduced to a misdemeanor.

Harris County Assistant District Attorney Brittney Aaron says those under deferred adjudication could get 10 years in prison for failing to comply with the terms of their agreements.

She also says DA’s office message is that “justice is served and, at the same time, justice is upheld.”

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