The Sixth Appellate District Court in Texarkana denied the 16-year-old's appeal of her March, 2006, conviction for assault on a public servant and turned aside her claim that she received ineffective assistance from her defense lawyer at her trial in juvenile court before Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville.
The appeals court decision has no immediate impact on the teenager, who was ordered released in late March by a special conservator in charge of the state's juvenile justice agency after she had served one year of her sentence.
Her case rose to national prominence after it was featured in a March 12 Tribune story, which noted that, just three months before Superville sentenced Cotton, who was 14 at the time of the shoving incident, to prison, he sentenced a 14-year-old white girl convicted of the more serious crime of arson to probation.
Nevertheless, the appeals court pointedly declined to issue an opinion on the racial dimensions of the case or the proportionality of Cotton's prison sentence—issues that were central to the civil rights activists who took up the teenager's cause.
This from the Chicago Tribune.
Tribune photo above by Tom Van Dyke:
Creola Cotton (left) watches as her daughter Shaquanda, 15, opens a gift and card in Brownwood, Texas on Mar 31, 2007, after Shaquanda's release. The soft-spoken teenager had been the center of nationwide civil rights protests over her sentence of up to 7 years for pushing a teacher's aide.