Andrew Kotcherha, 46, was arrested last week for allegedly robbing two banks in Pompano Beach, Florida and one bank in Coconut Creek, Florida. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Kotcherha was released from prison in December after serving time for drug and theft charges. Kotcherha supposedly has a rather extensive criminal history, which includes a five year prison sentence for robbing a bank in 1992.
Even though bank robberies can be prosecuted in either State or Federal court, they are usually prosecuted in Federal court by the U.S. Attorney’s Office after an investigation conducted by the FBI. This is important because prosecution in Federal court can be a lot more serious than in State court. Federal court is much more formal and the likelihood of being sent to prison is sometimes greater.
Second, insofar as a defense is concerned, Kotcherha seems to be out of luck because he failed to take any measures to conceal his identity. With the exception of his eyes, which were concealed by sunglasses, Kotcherha’s face and body were supposedly recorded by bank security cameras. These videos may make winning at trial impossible.
Third, Kotcherha’s criminal history will likely hurt him more than the bank videos. Not only does he allegedly have a lengthy rap sheet, but it appears as though he has a history not only for theft, but for bank robbery as well! This is going to hurt Kotcherha because judges give a lot of weight to criminal history at the time of sentencing. Criminal history is important because it gives a judge insight into the offender’s character.
In Kotcherha’s case, the sentencing judge will likely be most influenced by four main aggravators. First, is the fact that Kotcherha reoffended only a month or two after being released from prison. Second, is the fact that Kotcherha reoffended by committing a crime that involves theft – which is the very charge he was in prison for. Third, is the fact that Kotcherha already served a 5 year sentence for the same exact offense – bank robbery. Fourth, is the fact that Kotcherha went on a crime spree by allegedly robbing, not one, not two, but THREE banks.
When a sentencing judge reviews Kotcherha’s case and criminal history, it is unlikley that he will be sentenced to anything less than 30 years in prison. Kotcherha is not facing a DUI, he is facing a major felony offense. In the eyes of a judge, a man like Kotcherha is a textbook candidate for a long term prison sentence.
While the above analysis only considers the limited facts reported in the news, it appears as though Kotcherha will be in custody for a long time.