Law student seeks pardon for assault conviction
by David Atchison
Sep 29, 2010 | 6992 views |  46 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PELL CITY — A Birmingham School of Law student is seeking a pardon from a 2001 assault conviction so he can take the Alabama State Bar Examination.

Shay Golden, 31, of Pell City asked the court Wednesday to enter an order ending his probation, effective Dec. 17, 2008.

Golden said he must complete his sentence before he can apply for a pardon with the court. His probation will end July 2011.

Golden and six other men were charged with the June 11, 2000, attempted murder of Jamie Brock, 40, who at the time lived in Pell City.

Golden and the other men brutally attacked Brock in the Pier 59 parking lot, a nightclub just outside the city limits, south of Pell City. The victim suffered serious injuries, being kicked and hit with a baseball bat.

In accordance with a plea agreement, the attempted murder charge against Golden was reduced to first-degree assault.

He said in court Wednesday he was given a 10-year split sentence.

Golden said he served two years, five months and 11 days of a three-year prison sentence, and he was released from prison Dec. 16, 2003.

In accordance with the plea agreement, Golden was to serve five years under supervised probation and the remainder of the 10-year sentence on unsupervised probation.

Golden, who is in his second year of law school, told St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Jim Hill it was illegal for a probation sentence to exceed five years.

Golden said after Wednesday’s hearing he graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2007, and has only two years remaining at the Birmingham School of Law.

“I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago,” Golden said. “There are very few people who have been where I’ve been, get out and go forward. I know what it costs you to be found guilty of something.”

Assistant District Attorney Carol Boone said the state objects to Golden’s motion to be released from probation.

She said the plea agreement reached between Golden and the state is not illegal, and the restriction to five years of probation only applies to “supervised probation.”

Boone also said the District Attorney’s Office was not notified of Wednesday’s hearing until two days ago.

“The defendant did not properly serve the District Attorney’s Office with a copy of his motion,” Boone said. “Therefore, we didn’t even have sufficient time to contact Mr. Brock (the victim).”

She said the defendant also failed to mention he was arrested for driving under the influence at 2:25 a.m. March 21 in Pell City.

Boone said she worries because alcohol was involved in the assault 10 years ago.

She said Golden refused to take a field sobriety test and the Drager breathalyzer test when he was last arrested.

“It is what it is,” Golden said after the hearing. “It was dismissed because of the lack of evidence.”

Boone said Golden was not convicted of the DUI because the arresting officer failed to check a box on the citation.

“If that box had been checked, it’s likely that he could have been found guilty by a municipal court,” Boone said.

She said Golden’s probation ends July 2011, less than a year away, and at that time he can pursue a pardon through the courts.

“There are consequences for breaking the law,” Boone said.

She said the pardon process takes two to five years to complete.

Golden said he just wants to graduate from law school and take his bar exam, so he can help others.

“I just want to do something good,” he said.

Hill said he will take Golden’s motion under advisement and give his ruling later.

Golden said if the judge rules against his motion, he will continue to move forward so he may one day practice law.

“It will just make the road a lot more difficult,” he said.