After Several 2nd Chances, This South Jersey Shoplifter Hoped For Yet Another
A young Philadelphia woman busted for shoplifting nine perfume bottles from the Deptford Mall in 2014 will not be able to clear that conviction from her record.
Tayisha Foster, 27, who has a history of minor crimes in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, appealed a Superior Court's decision to deny her access to the pre-trial intervention program. Instead, she was sentenced in 2015 to three years of probation and fines.
Defendants accepted into the PTI program can have the charges against them dropped if they stay out of trouble for a period of time, usually one to three years.
While the program is not limited to first-time offenders, court administrators and judges in New Jersey said Foster had too many prior convictions to be eligible.
In fact, several months after her Deptford Mall arrest, she was arrested again in Voorhees on charges of shoplifting and resisting arrest. She was later found guilty in Voorhees Municipal Court on a downgraded shoplifting charge.
The criminal division manager who reviewed Foster's PTI application said that her "continuing criminal behavior ... indicates that she is unlikely to be deterred from criminal behavior through participation in the pretrial intervention program."
Foster argued that the shoplifting charge was a minor offense that should have been outweighed by her young age, her high school diploma, her gainful employment, the fact that she was not a drug addict, and her need for a clean record to keep her job.
She had already received a second chance in Pennsylvania in 2010 when she got "accelerated rehabilitative disposition" — that state's version of PTI — for charges of retail theft, receiving stolen property and possession of an instrument of a crime.
In 2012, she was found guilty in Cherry Hill Municipal Court for disturbing the peace. Also that year, she received probation for a retail theft charge in Philadelphia Municipal Court.
A two-judge appellate panel on Wednesday rejected Foster's appeal, saying they found no abuse in discretion by the trial court. The decision says that her "criminal history demonstrates she has been unable to effect the necessary behavioral changes to become law abiding" and that she "would not benefit from the rehabilitative process."
Foster was represented by the state Public Defender's Office, which does not comment on cases.