116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - Cedar Rapids Police Officer Tim Davis told a judge Monday that Jose Rockiett's 'poor choices” one day in 2009 changed Davis' life forever.
Making a victim's impact statement, Davis said Rockiett's attack with a BB gun on March 29, 2009, which resulted in a severe head injury, didn't just harm him. It affected his two sons and his wife. His ability to care for his children was questioned, and his marriage fell apart.
He was a 'rising star” in the police department, but after the injury was considered by some 'unfit for duty.” After many months of desk duty, he's back on patrol duty but remains under 'scrutiny,” he said.
Davis, who has remarried and has stepchildren, said he is at high risk to have early onset Alzheimer's or dementia.
Davis asked Sixth Judicial District Judge Christopher Bruns to not lessen Rockiett's sentence of 25 years in prison. There's 'no early release for me or my family,” he said.
Rockiett, 23, of Cedar Rapids, is asking the court to eliminate the mandatory minimum sentence of seven years of his 25-year sentence. Rockiett, who was 17 when the attack happened, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in 2010 - two counts of second-degree robbery and one count each of willful injury and interference with official acts.
In the courtroom, Rockiett apologized to Davis, his family and the other victim, David Scanlon, who was robbed and assaulted by Rockiett.
Davis was responding to the robbery of Scanlon and Austin Switalski the day when Rockiett attacked him. Rockiett said he always has had remorse for what he did.
'I want to become a better man,” Rockiett said.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said that according to law, mandatory minimums are banned for juveniles without individualized sentencing, but individualized sentencing was part of his plea agreement. The court already weighed the options and accepted the plea and sentencing, Vander Sanden said.
As originally charged, Rockiett faced 65 years with a mandatory minimum of 35 years, Vander Sanden said.
Vander Sanden asked the judge to consider all information in the case, including the presentencing report, the victims' impact statements and Rockiett's progress report from being in prison five years.
Rockiett has received 29 disciplinary reports while in custody, Vander Sanden said
John Bishop, Rockiett's attorney, said according to the law concerning juveniles, sentences apply to all juveniles serving mandatory minimums. It doesn't matter whether it's the result of a plea agreement or not, he added.
Rockiett isn't seeking early release, Bishop said, only elimination of the mandatory minimum.
Bishop said Rockiett's disciplinary write-ups don't include violent incidents but are for 'minor things.” Bishop submitted certificates Rockiett has completed since being in prison, including those for a GED and anger management classes.
Bruns will make a written ruling on sentencing and will present it in court June 5.