Controversial judgment of teen sneaker thief reversed, conviction vacated


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Imagine spending two and a half years in jail and looking to spend several more years there, then finding out your sentence has been reduced. That’s exactly what happened on Thursday to Marquis Dixon, who was serving time for stealing a pair of sneakers back in 2014.

The appeal decision that came down on Thursday, basically said Dixon should have been charged as a youthful offender. Not an adult.

It reduces his sentence and also clears the felony from his record.

After months of community protests, many are saying justice has finally been served for Dixon.

“It is rare,” said Dixon’s lawyer, Carolyn George. “In criminal appeals, the defendants win very, very seldom. Almost never. It’s exceptional.”

George has been Dixon’s lawyer through the appeals process and says this appeal decision changes his whole life.

“People in this sentencing court had missed it,” George said. “The judge and the defense attorney and the people had all misunderstood the law.”

Dixon was arrested in 2014 for stealing a pair of sneakers.

He was charged as an adult with a class B felony, and sentenced to nine years in state prison.

George says Dixon should have been charged as a youthful offender from the beginning.

“My client suffered the consequences of that by going to jail when he should have hopefully, been walking across the stage of his high school graduation,” George said.

The appellate decision now cites Dixon as a youthful offender and he will no longer be searchable in the system.

“It’s no longer his last name,” George explained. “It’s just his first name and initials. You can’t even find him in the court records.”

His sentence was cut to one to three years, with the possibility of being a free man in just a few short months.

“He can smell the grass and play basketball and wear the kind of sneakers he wants to wear and he can be a human being again,” George said.

On the phone Thursday, Dixon’s mother said she’s so excited and overwhelmed at this decision. She says she couldn’t do it without the community’s continued support.

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