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Barrington receives 7 years for grade change scandal


Published: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 23:09

defendant 2

Caryn Wilson

Marcus Barrington

Former FAMU student, Marcus Barrington, has been through a revolving door of hearings and trials since March, following a highly controversial and publicized grade changing scandal.

Monday, Barrington was sentenced to 84 months (7 years) in state prison and three years of supervised probation.

The scandal has brought a slew of controversy over academic dishonesty at FAMU.

The courtroom was filled to capacity as the bailiff escorted Barrington inside at 4 p.m.
Defense attorney Hugo Rodriguez called three witnesses pleading for leniency on behalf of Barrington, including his mother Kay.

Kay Barrington told the judge, "I believe in second chances, as I am an example of one, and I ask you all to please not allow this one distraction to dictate the rest of my son's life."

Beverly Scott, a close friend of the Barrington family from Orlando, has known 24-year-old Barrington since his childhood.

"Marcus' mother and I have raised both of our kids up in the church from the cradle, and we have always taught them to be role models and law abiding citizens," said Scott. "The prison system does not help young men but instead it stifles them." 

Prior to his sentencing, Barrington spoke on his own behalf to his mother in an emotional expression of sorrow, embarrassment and disappointment.

"I am sorry to put you through this. You instilled morals and religious values while making sacrifices for me, and you should not have to be here to witness this," Barrington said.

As Barrington's voice trembled, he turned toward his mother and gestured to her as he awaited the judge's final verdict.

In a last and final effort, Defense Attorney Rodriguez asked the judge to take into consideration that this is the first offense for Barrington and that without a second chance, Rodriguez himself would not have been standing there as a successful public defender. 
Prosecuting attorney Eric Mountin argued the actions of Barrington were not simply a mistake, but instead a premeditated criminal act.

"Many students have been affected and now when they go into jobs with resumes, hiring managers may wonder if their grades were involved in this scandal," Mountin said.

Presiding over the case was Chief Judge Stephan P. Mitchell.

After a short recess he returned with his verdict and decision on sentencing.

 Mitchell directed his comments to Barrington directly, "I have heard both sides, and I have not heard you admit that you have done anything wrong."

Mitchell recommended Barrington be incarcerated near the Orlando area where his family could have closer access to him, then he turned him over into the custody of the bailiff as Barrington was escorted back out of the courtroom.

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20 comments Log in to Comment

Thu Sep 24 2009 10:55
He got exactly what he deserved. I'm so sick of people saying, "he was made an example of" or "the punishment is too harsh." Regardless of whether he was a nice guy or not, he's a criminal. Simple as that. He robbed the University, He robbed the state and he robbed the federal government. Now, for the next seven years he'll have time to think about what he's done. Don't do dumb sh#t and you won't be made "an example of."
Thu Sep 24 2009 03:14
Edgewater water. U know we bout it bout it. Marcus is the first and the last person I know that I would ever think wld b goin to jail. My thoughts and prayers go out to his moms. It's all good though once he gets out at least he can still claim innocence on his resume. Idk just tryna look on the bright side. Such negativity and strong opinions from ppl who dnt even know wut happened. Only God can truly judge. Peace.
do your research
Thu Sep 24 2009 01:54
Everyone making comments about this sentencing being unfair needs to research this case. What he did was a FEDERAL OFFENSE. Identity Theft (stealing passwords/access information of FAMU registrar employees), not to mention Fraud (changing grades/ residency status). Do you realize the thousands of dollars of difference between in-state & out of state tuition?? Also, changing a failing grade to passing results in a student not having to repeat a course, meaning even MORE money the University is potentially out of. Granted, Marcus might be a nice guy..but he's a white collar criminal. The FBI had to get involved for goodness sake.
Wed Sep 23 2009 21:15
I hate it for him, his family, all FAMUANS, and the community at-large. However, he never admitted any guilt, which typically means the defendant's atty is planning for an appeal and the client definitely cannot admit to any wrong doing. Which could indicate that the judge gave him a harsh sentence knowing it might/ probably would be reduced in the appellate case. In spite of all that as an alumni who came as an out-of-state student my first question is, "did Marcus recieie any money for changing the grades?" If so then he was robbing the university and any other students who may have benefited from those funds, which may have helped those same or some other students (e.g. financial aid, scholarships, etc). Either way he has been found guilty of committing a crime and if the punishment is 7 years, then he should man up and do it. Perhaps others will see his mistake and learn from it instead of expecting to do wrong without serious consequences.
Wed Sep 23 2009 20:03
What a harsh punishment. The legal system is unjust.
FAMU Employee
Wed Sep 23 2009 16:13
If they will commit a crime for any reason expecting to have minimum punishment, whether a first time or a fiftieth time, they will continue. I pay taxes for those who continue to think that society owes them something when they continue to take and take and take. Seven years of my tax money is well worth denying him a youth-it was a premeditated choice to commit what he knew was a crime ( a religious background). He thought that he would get away with a slap on the hand. I am glad he got at least seven years-he'll probably be out in two. In the meantime, someone else has to clean up the mess-guess he can't laugh at it now.
Your name
Wed Sep 23 2009 14:25
God Bless you Marcus!
Carlos Warner, II
Wed Sep 23 2009 12:25
I agree that 7 years seems a bit extreme. If he serves the full term he will miss out on some of the most pivital years of his life. I can only imagine how difficult it will be for him to regroup and become a contributing member of society once released. I think this is awful and the probation would have sufficed.
Kawanza Dukes Smith
Wed Sep 23 2009 11:31
I definitely believe in punishment; however, 7 years seems a bit extreme. It's unfortuate that he has been made the example.
Wed Sep 23 2009 11:14
Everyone who is saying the sentencing is too harsh needs to realize that it wouldn't have been that way if he had just owned up to what he did. He repeatedly denied any wrongdoing although the evidence was there and very strong. The outcome is what is expected. He reaped what he sowed. And he may be nice but a lot of "nice" people are in prison for doing stupid things. Let's hope he learns from this. I'm really sorry he has to go through it, but it was his own actions that sent him there.
Your name
Wed Sep 23 2009 11:03
changing grades from an F to an A it a bit much but changing someones residency status from out of state to instate is something that could quite honestly could be looked at as a favor to not only the students but to the parents who have to pay the outrageous fees. Maybe this should be looked at as a cry from the students to the federal government. Why does getting an education have to make parents and students go broke?!?
Wed Sep 23 2009 10:27
Run a few database commands and get 7 years in prison. The time DOESN'T fit the crime.
Your name
Wed Sep 23 2009 10:26
I have known Marcus all his life and I am not sure whether he did what was said and if he did yes own up to it , but there is still doubt in my mind-I pray for his family that they can sustain this-I believe seven years is a little drastic!!!!!!!
Your name
Wed Sep 23 2009 09:50
He is a threat to society, what would be next if he had not been caught. He never admitted to his guilt. Such arrogance. His friends and family must have known what he was capable of doing. He is not a nice person and his arrogance got him where he is today. Hopefully he will think about all of the wrong he has done to others, he has seven years to think about it.
Rattler Mom
Wed Sep 23 2009 08:53
It is unfortunate for Barrington and his family. I don't know what the sentencing guidelines are for this particular offense; however, it ranks up there with hackers, and identity thieves. Lives have been ruined as has been his, but he is responsible. In light of the recent economic collapse, Bernie Madoff, and the like the judge is sending the message to anyone else who may be entertaining such a crime. Barrington may be being used as an exampe to send a message. Perhaps, his attorney will appeal the ruling and get his sentence reduced. It is such a waste - and for what?
sam spade
Wed Sep 23 2009 08:52
Put him in a cell and slam the door shut. If he makes it we'll see him in seven. Own up to what you do, take responsibility for your actions. Society has had enough of bad behavior. Forgiving is something best left for a JURY. After seven years he will be forgiven and square once again with the house. Pray he learns to subdue his passion while in prison. Florida lock ups are no joke, there is no DOWN LOW there, it's all LOW, RIGHT TO THE BOTTOM LOW, and we wonder why there is an AIDS Epidemic in the Black Community. This is the world of our Young Black Men
Your name
Wed Sep 23 2009 08:17
Cheaters should NEVER prosper. 7 yrs is a bit much, but he should have manned up.
Your name
Wed Sep 23 2009 06:11
He should have copped a plea like the others....
Your name
Wed Sep 23 2009 01:06
What he did was a felony and in fact a "high crime", thus you do the crime, you do the time. However, this sentencing is ridiculous and he is in fact a really good person and what he did was nothing comparable to that of murderers, theives, and sex offenders!!!!!! This sentencing was unjust and needs to be challenged.
So sad....My heart goes out to him and his family.
Wed Sep 23 2009 00:57
How is this guy a threat to society. Prison is supposed to be a place for high crimes.

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