Guilty Verdict in Marijuana Case Could Result in Life Sentence
A Vivian man who spent nearly thirty years in prison for an attempted aggravated rape charge could be heading back there for a very long time, possibly the rest of his life. James Cass stood trial today (Wednesday) in a Caddo court for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He was found guilty and now prosecutors plan to ask for the maximum sentence. Prosecutors want to use what's called a Habitual Offender Bill, which allows courts to consider previous convictions. Cass was convicted of aggravated attempted rape and armed robbery back in the 70's, and served thirty years of a sixty year sentence. Just a couple of years after his release, which was advised against by judges and attorneys who remember the case, he was arrested again, this time on the marijuana charge. During closing arguements Prosecutor, Damon Kervin addressed the issue of Cass getting out of jail before his sentence was completed. Kervin told jurors" I've never seen anybody with a conviction of aggravated attempted rape, armed robbery, escape and two other sex crimes and is out on the street, I've never seen that, ya'll can put a stop to that nonsense right now".
Drug agents from Shreveport and Caddo served a search warrant on Cass' home back in June of 2007. Agents testified in court that in his home they found 40 grams of marijuana packaged in baggies consistent with a distribution ring.
The sentencing phase for Cass is scheduled for May 29th. Assistant District Attorney, Jason Brown says he'll recomend a life sentence.
Story by Fred Childers