A man was convicted on multiple charges associated with the shooting of a police officer in April 2010 that left the lawman paralyzed. The criminal trial reached its conclusion when the defendant in this case received a life sentence for assault and weapons crimes in the non-fatal shooting.

The man had pleaded no-contest to the charges levied against him, which generally results in more lenient sentencing outcomes. Still, family members of the injured officer say that the punishment is too lenient for them, despite the fact the man has received a lifetime sentence in prison.

The convicted man's mother was distraught by the court's sentencing. She says that police officers did not exercise appropriate caution when approaching the man during an altercation at his home. The man was reportedly suicidal and had threatened to shoot anyone who got too close. The convict reportedly shot his gun, and the bullet struck the officer. He was then wounded by the officers, who fired at least two gunshots.

Judicial records show that the judge in the case sentenced the man to life for the first-degree assault charge against a law enforcement officer. He will also be serving concurrent 15-year sentences for other weapons charges related to the case. The man does have the possibility of parole after 80 percent of his sentence has been served.

The accused attempted to fire his lawyer, whom he said represented him poorly in the criminal proceedings. The man pleaded no-contest at the behest of his attorneys. A no-contest plea acknowledges that prosecutors have enough information to convict, but it does not involve a formal admission of guilt.

This case underscores the importance of retaining trustworthy legal counsel during criminal proceedings. A high-profile case, such as this one, is going to be pursued aggressively by prosecutors at the behest of the public. As such, it's important to make sure the defendant's rights are not disregarded in the haste to reach a conviction and issue tough sentencing.

Source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Man gets life in prison for shooting that left Rock Hill officer paralyzed," Christine Byers, Sept. 25, 2012