An 84-year-old Elgin woman with a long history of drug arrests escaped a minimum six-year prison term Tuesday when a judge acquitted her of cutting an officer's finger during a traffic stop last summer.
Rosella Robinson was convicted, though, of misdemeanor resisting arrest by Kane County Judge David Akemann and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. The not-guilty verdict on two counts of felony aggravated battery to a police officer came after a two-day bench trial.
"Everything they stated wasn't true," Robinson said after the verdict. "I didn't do (anything) to get a ticket. I had no reason to be harassed."
Another felony conviction for Robinson would have triggered a mandatory Class X felony sentence, which ranges from six to 30 years in prison without the possibility of probation.
According to court records, Robinson has four felony convictions in Kane County since 1983 for manufacture/delivery of cocaine and possession of narcotics.
She was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $3,100 after a conviction stemming from a November 1997 arrest.
She also served 40 days in jail after a 2008 arrest for cocaine possession, records show.
Elgin police charged Robinson after an arrest July 18, 2011, saying she tried to drive away after an officer stopped her for an illegal U-turn and was planning on giving her a warning.
After warning Robinson once, Elgin Police Officer Anthony Rigano reached into the car to grab the keys out of the ignition and sustained a one-inch cut on his finger after Robinson hit, grabbed and clawed at Rigano's hand, prosecutors argued.
Robinson's defense attorney, Van Richards, argued that the officer must have inadvertently cut his hand on a wire on her key chain and that she did not intentionally hurt Rigano.
"This is the most massively overcharged case I have ever seen," Richards said in his closing arguments. "(Police) patted her down like she shot somebody."
Prosecutors Jonathan McKay and Alex Bederka argued that Robinson's testimony was not believable and that she "knowingly" struck Rigano, which is one of the elements needed to prove guilt.
"She was grabbing at him, she was clawing at him and she drew blood. That's aggravated battery," McKay told Akemann in closing arguments.
Copyright 2012 Paddock Publications, Inc.