Classroom hostage taker to serve time after probation violation

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The following is a news release from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Siding with the County Attorney's Office, the Arizona Court of Appeals has overturned a Maricopa Superior Court decision to give Sean Botkin (DOB 7/14/86) probation instead of sending him to prison for violating probation.

In 2000, Botkin held a class at gunpoint at an elementary school in Glendale. In 2001, he pleaded guilty and was given seven years' intensive probation. In 2004, Botkin committed a drug-related felony while on probation. State law under A.R.S. §13-917(B) called for a presumptive sentence of five years because Botkin violated the terms of probation. Instead, the judge reduced the level of probation and sentenced Botkin to one year in prison for the drug offense. County Attorney Andrew Thomas then appealed the decision.

In 2006, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the prosecution and sent the case back to trial court. A different judge retroactively reduced the level of probation and sentenced to Botkin a year in prison with credit for one year time served for the 2004 drug offense. Again, the County Attorney's Office appealed the Superior Court's ruling.

On July 31, 2008, the state Court of Appeals sided with the prosecution. The ruling states, "The trial court cannot avoid the mandate of A.R.S. § 13-917(B) by reducing a defendant's level of probation supervision pursuant to A.R.S §13-917(A) prior to the resolution of the petition for revocation."

Thomas stated, "The Court of Appeals' ruling ensures this defendant will receive the mandatory sentence the law provides for his misconduct. The Legislature has established mandatory sentences for criminals to make sure they receive proper punishment. It is important that these sentences be carried out and upheld by our courts."