Jefferson Police Chief Weighs-In About Public Attending Sentence Hearings

April 19, 2018 5:34 am
Police Chief Mark Clouse

Police Chief Mark Clouse

As we continue our coverage of law enforcement asking the public to attend sentence hearings in Greene County District Court, today we hear from the Jefferson Police Chief.

Greene County Sheriff Jack Williams

Greene County Sheriff Jack Williams

Chief Mark Clouse agrees with Greene County Sheriff Jack Williams that they would like to see more people attend sentence hearings at the Greene County Courthouse.

“First of all, we want our citizens and our public to kind of take ownership of our court proceedings here in Greene County. It not only sends a message to the person that may be on trial, or getting sentenced, or whatever the case may be, but also to the whole system. It sends a message that ‘We are here. This is our community and we care about these outcomes. These outcomes directly affect our community.’”

As we’ve previously reported, there were two criminal cases last week in which both defendants pled guilty to felony charges. One had already been on probation and the other admitted to being a lifelong criminal. When the prosecutor, Greene County Assistant Attorney Thomas Laehn, argued for the maximum jail time of five-years, the judge that presided over both hearings, imposed probation instead.

Laehn tells Raccoon Valley Radio he even called law enforcement to testify in one of those cases, before the judge made his ruling, and Laehn says he wants to continue to utilize witnesses before a criminal is sentenced.

“I think there are at least some cases in which it’s appropriate for the judge to hear from the victim of the offense or from law enforcement to help the judge understand the circumstances of the case, the damage that was done, or the loss that was incurred, or hear from the victim and what the victim suffered. I think a judge should hear those things before determining the appropriate punishment.”

Laehn understands the work that law enforcement goes through on each case and has at one time gone with law enforcement when they’ve executed a search warrant, just to better understand what they go through. Sheriff Williams supports what Laehn is trying to do when he prosecutes a case.

“We’ve got a new county attorney coming up, our assistant (Laehn), that I think is going to be great for Greene County. That I think (he’s) already getting frustrated, because he’s fighting for a punishment for these people and getting nothing in return.”

Assistant County Attorney Thomas Laehn

Assistant County Attorney Thomas Laehn

The public can attend sentence hearings that are held the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Call the Clerk of Court’s office to find out specific details of a case.

 

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