Holding them accountable: another criminal released early kills someone

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

He got out of prison early. Now he’s going back for 20 years after Lexington killing.

By Greg Kocher | [email protected] | March 24, 2017 | 11:39 AM EDT

A man was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison for the 2014 shooting death of Joseph Ramone Parker.

Jevon Donnell Magee, 23, who had gotten out of prison early on shock probation, shot Parker on Dec. 18, 2014, at Lexington’s Augusta Arms Apartments, according to court records. Parker, 30, died later that day.

Magee had been charged with murder, but the charge was amended to first-degree manslaughter.¹ He also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and being a persistent felony offender.

Public defender Bonnie Potter said the shooting happened after a “drug deal gone bad” in which Magee and Parker got into a fight.

Magee had been sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty in April 2012 to charges of possessing a handgun while being a convicted felon and filing a false police report.

Magee was a felon because at age 15 in 2009, he was convicted as an adult of second-degree robbery, according to circuit court records. Magee was tried as an adult in that case in part because it was a felony involving a gun, documents show.

Read more here.

Let’s do the math, shall we? Mr Magee pleaded guilty to felonies in April of 2012, one of which was possession of a handgun as a convicted felon. His prior felony conviction included the use of a firearm in a robbery. So, he was sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary, for his second firearm offense. Had he actually served his five years, he’d be getting out of prison next month. His attorney petitioned for shock probation, which was granted in July of 2014, and he was released from the Little Sandy Correctional Complex on August 20, 2014. For his second felony offense, considered a Class C felony under state law, he had already been sentenced to the legal minimum of five years;² Class C felonies call for sentences of “not less than five (5) years nor more than ten (10) years.” He served only sixteen months out of a sixty month sentence (26.6%), and his original sentence was only half of what it could have been.

Even with his low-end sentence, Mr Magee should still have been in prison when he shot and killed Mr Parker.

The obvious questions are: why was Mr Magee granted shock probation, and who took the decision to allow it? Whoever took the decision to release Mr Magee early is just as responsible for the death of Mr Parker as was Mr Magee! The Commonwealth had a two-time loser, one with a history of firearms violations, safely incarcerated in prison, and some idiot decided to release him from prison early.

So, what penalty will accrue to whomever released Mr Magee early?³ My guess is that nothing will happen to him, nothing at all. The concept of judicial immunity for decisions appropriate to their public function has long been established, and whatever judge or other public official authorized the release of Mr Magee cannot be punished, legally, for his decision.

But such a negligent public official can be publicized and shamed for his decisions! These people must be held accountable for the damages they cause. Once that starts to happen, we’ll see more responsible decisions coming from public officials.
¹ – Manslaughter in the first degree is a Class B Felony in Kentucky, with a sentence range of not less than ten and not more than twenty years in the state penitentiary.
² – Mr Magee pleaded guilty, so I assume that the minimum sentence was part of the plea bargain.
³ – Regrettably, I have not been able to find that person’s name or title in an extensive search. I do have a call in to try and get that information.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.