LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Local Judge issues Contempt of Court order to Corrections Commissioner


I have seen some ludicrous things done in my career, but just when you think you have seen it all something new and more ridiculous than before rears its ugly head. Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman ordered the release of 18 year old Daniel Ottman and State Corrections Commissioner John Rees refused because the ?Kentucky law does not allow adult inmates convicted of violent offenses to be granted shock probation? the exclusion to this rule is that a 2006 Kentucky Court of Appeals opinion found there is an exception for juvenile offenders, which Ottman was at the time of his arrest. (Shock probation is a form of early release defendants are eligible for after serving between 30 and 180 days).

Ottman was convicted of Assault 1st degree and he has a lengthy and violent juvenile record. Rees contends that Ottman since he is now an adult does not fit the criteria for the juvenile release. Rees also argued that the Parole Board is the proper authority to decide whether or not a criminal should be granted a special release. McDonald Burkman disagrees and is apparently so miffed with him over the refusal to follow her order that she held a contempt hearing and found Rees, someone that has been serving the Commonwealth, Law Enforcement and the Justice Administration faithfully since 1969 when he began his career as a caseworker, guilty of contempt. She will decide next week whether or not Rees will be fined or go to jail for his actions.

I keep wondering when I will wake up from this. Ottoman's attorney Rob Eggert wants Rees sentenced to 6 days in jail which is the time his client spent after McDonald-Burk man's original release order was challenged.

Update: "Ky. prison chief fined, could have been jailed"The state Supreme Court is reviewing that 2006 decision. But Judge McDonald-Burkman said that Ottman is eligible for shock probation at least while the issue is pending before the Supreme Court. Whoa! Hold on there your Judgeship, how about you consider that until the Ky Supreme Court decides we hold up on all releases because wouldn't it best serve the interests of the community to keep violent offenders off the streets? Why is it that you even considered someone with such a violent history eligible for early release? Just because he is eligible it doesn't mean you have to release him does it? Remember the Law that you are using ?ALLOWS? you to grant shock probation it doesn't ?Guarantee or Demand? that juvenile be granted probation.

A similar refusal in Judge Barry Willet's court happened last month when Willet granted shock probation to armed robber Terance Moten. Again I question the judicial wisdom behind the decision to let these violent criminals back on the street. I can understand the concept of shock probation and think it is appropriate in some, not all cases. I do not think it is appropriate in ANY gun case or when someone is injured.

Judge McDonald-Burkman's original order to release a violent thug back to the community is what has me troubled. Now that she was defied she got mad and is taking it out on John Rees because he, like many voters in the community believe that violent offenders belong behind bars and shouldn't have their sentences cut short just because some judge grants a special favor to an attorney pal and his client. I would dare say that she doesn't have to worry about him showing up in her neighborhood, but that the people of Portland, the Department of Juvenile Justice employees that he threatened and the Police that worked so hard to catch him do have concerns that should outweigh a thugs desire to get out of prison.Ottman is on home incarceration and supervised probation, but I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people flaunt the system and abscond from home incarceration.

Here are some suggestions to our elected officials on the bench:

That until the Ky Supreme Court decides this issue you quit releasing violent offenders back to the community.

If you want to release a violent criminal then if he screws up and hurts someone else you agree to immediately resign from the bench.

That you quit considering people like Ottman and Moten eligible to be released because they have served between 30 and 180 days of their sentence.

Indiana Law is much stricter than Kentucky Law in these type cases. It makes me want to puke when I bring a thug successfully before the bar of justice and he gets 10 years and then some liberal judge lets him off on shock probation after 6 months. The proper thing for Judge McDonald-Burkman and any other judge is to NOT grant shock probation to any violent offender until this is decided by the Ky Supreme Court. Common sense would also dictate that a Judge would never release anyone even a juvenile that is a danger to the community back on the street.