Posted March 31, 2008 – A 49-year-old San Francisco Bay Area woman who pelted her Jamaican neighbor with the “N”-word before running him down with her car was given probation instead of a prison sentence, thanks to her Black boyfriend who convinced a jury that she wasn’t a racist.
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Janice Ann Lutz, who was convicted of felony assault last November, was looking at four years in prison on hate-crime charges. But Lutz's boyfriend, whom she has dated for several years, told the jury that while his girlfriend is as mean as a snake, she’s no racist.
Superior Court doctors also determined that Lutz is almost certainly mentally ill, The Associated Press reported. She was admitted into the county's Pathways Program, designed to treat offenders diagnosed with mental illness. In fact, it’s her illness that helped the judge give her three year’s probation, rather than the maximum.
The judge also gave her 30 days in the county jail, which Lutz can waive by applying to the sheriff’s work-release program, and told her she must pay the victim $926.80.
Lutz apparently is well known to her neighbors, especially the Black and Latino ones. Hurling racist slurs is a regular practice for her, a Latina told the news service, saying that the number of times she heard Lutz use derogatory labels was "too many to count," according to Deputy District Attorney Sharon Cho.
Lutz’s victim was working on some cabinets outside of his apartment when Lutz, while shouting slurs, “stepped into her car, backed out of her parking space, pointed the car toward her victim and stepped on the gas,” AP reported. The man went flying and suffered a sprained shoulder, the prosecutor told the news service. Lutz is forbidden from ever driving in the state of California.
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