Letter to the Editor

Write to judge about sentencing

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

To the editor:

Jane M. Painton inaccurately wrote in her recent letter that the prosecuting attorney was not seeking any jail time for Eric Lee Ford, who pleaded guilty to felony animal abuse for killing a cat.

In fact, Ford may well receive up to 60 days in the county jail under his plea agreement. My office agreed he would receive probation, but a judge has the power to give him up to 60 days in jail as shock detention as a condition of probation in a felony case.

When I spoke to the Missourian reporter about this case, I said I expected my office to ask for some shock time but added that the shock time was not "set in stone," because all conditions of probation are always up to the judge, not the prosecutor. I told the reporter that Ford could end up receiving up to 60 days in jail. That comment did not make it into the news story, so it is understandable why Painton and others came to their mistaken conclusion.

I would encourage anyone who wants to see the defendant get county jail time as a condition of probation to write to Circuit Judge David Dolan, P.O. Box 256, Charleston, Mo. 63736-2056. The letter should urge the judge to impose such a condition. Ford's sentencing is set for Sept. 13, so any letters need to be received well before that date.

H. MORLEY SWINGLE, Prosecuting Attorney, Cape Girardeau County, Jackson