The Richmond Register

Local News

July 5, 2013

Appeals court: Felony sex offenders ineligible for probation

MADISON COUNTY — A recent Kentucky Court of Appeals decision in a Madison County criminal case addressed the issue of whether, under state law, a sex offender can be sentenced to probation.

Michael R. Howard was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in 2011. He pleaded guilty to molesting a child as part of a mediation plea agreement, according to court documents.

Howard was sentenced to three years in prison for the Class D felony, which is the lowest class felony in Kentucky courts.

Madison Circuit Court Judge William G. Clouse ruled at Howard’s sentencing that he was a “violent offender” and not eligible for probation.

Howard appealed his sentence, stating Clouse erred by not considering probation or conditional discharge as a sentencing option for a Class D offense.

Before addressing the issue of whether state law declares all felonious sex offenders as “violent offenders” and ineligible for parole, the appeals court pointed out that Howard’s plea was not conditional.

“However, a plea agreement is a binding contract between the Commonwealth and the defendant,” the ruling stated. “... Because Howard was sentenced in accord with the plea agreement, he cannot now complain of the sentence he received.”

The appeals court did review Howard’s claim that he should have been considered for alternate sentencing but clearly stated that it lacked merit.

The same issue Howard brought up also was a point of contention in a 2011 high-profile case involving a Madison Central High School employee convicted of the third-degree rape and third-degree sodomy of a student.

Lynda Chase claimed the relationship was consensual, but the student was underage. Third-degree rape and sodomy do not involve force but rather the victim’s inability to consent to sexual activity.

Chase’s attorney, Jim Baechtold, argued that under state law, a Class D felon is eligible for home incarceration. He asserted that Chase, who has been paralyzed since age 5, was not receiving the medical care she needed in jail and requested shock probation.

Shock probation is a type of early release for first-time offenders.

Clouse ruled that a different law clearly stated that all sex offenders are considered violent offenders, and violent offenders are not allowed to have their sentences probated.

In another case, Madison Circuit Judge Jean C. Logue ruled that a former Madison Southern High School coach and teacher, Joey Tate, also was ineligible for probation although his conviction did not involve physical contact with his victim. Tate was convicted of using an electronic communications system to procure a minor for sex, also a Class D sex offense.

The appellate court took the same line of reasoning as the two local judges when considering Howard’s assertion he shouldn’t have been considered a violent offender for a Class D crime. The justices agreed with the Madison Circuit Court’s interpretation of state law that anyone convicted of felony sex crimes are violent offenders, and therefore, cannot receive probated sentences.

However, the June opinion is labeled “Not To Be Published,” meaning the appellate court’s ruling is specific to Howard’s case and cannot be used as precedent in other future cases or appeals.

Howard has the option of appealing the ruling to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-24 UKatWaco1.jpg Wildcats encourage Cardinals to work hard in school

    University of Kentucky student athletes Kastine Evans, a guard on the women’s basketball team, and Jon Hood, a guard on the men’s team, stopped by Waco Elementary School on Wednesday to talk about the benefits of working hard in school.

    April 23, 2014 4 Photos

  • Mayor, commissioner pay changed

    The Richmond City Commission approved 5-1 a new pay scale for the mayor and commissioners at a special-called meeting Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-24 Lorenzo McWilliams.jpg Harrodsburg to get old Richmond police mobile computers

    Richmond is donating to the city of Harrodsburg eight of 39 old computers formerly used in police cruisers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-24 HOSAblooddrive.jpg Health science students organize blood drive

    Aside from the gift cards and free snacks, 50 Madison County high school students have other reasons for donating 35 pints of blood Wednesday to the Kentucky Blood Center at Madison Central High School.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Third student charged in dorm room robbery

    A third person, originally thought to be a robbery victim, was charged Wednesday in connection with an armed robbery that occurred March 30 on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus

    April 23, 2014

  • Bucher Family plant sale starts Friday

    The Bucher Family annual plant sale, a yearly tradition in Madison County for 15 years, will kick off Friday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23 Gravestone.jpg In search of the last resting place

    At a popular illegal dump site off Bybee Loop in Waco, two marble grave markers were among some items found there by Pat and Ronnie Aldridge, residents who live about 250 yards from the area.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fiscal court awards EMA bids

    Two more bids were awarded at Tuesday’s Madison County Fiscal Court meeting for the emergency operations agency.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Peter Crowe.jpg Intoxicated man charged with wanton endangerment

    A 27-year-old Richmond man was charged Sunday with second-degree wanton endangerment after he was found intoxicated and walking with several young children in the Keystone Drive area, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Absentee voting available for May 20 election

    Walk-in absentee voting for the May 20 primary has begun and will continue until May 19, County Clerk Kenny Barger announced Tuesday at the Madison Fiscal Court meeting.

    April 22, 2014

AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results