Many Probations

U.S. district judge blasts Jackson County court system

U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple made these remarks on Jackson County justice during a sentencing hearing in February 2008:

“I have read the presentence report, as you have and your attorney has, and I understand your attorney’s position, and I agree with him to the point that it appears that the Jackson County judges think this 120-day rule thing is a pretty automatic thing, and they do it repeatedly, and it appears to me that because of that, you and other like-positioned defendants get to think, ‘Well, I can do any kind of criminal activity I want and it’s going to cost me 120 days (in prison); it doesn’t make any difference, those judges down there, I can snow them every time I go in there and they’re so glad to get rid of these cases, they’ll … send me down for 120 days and I’m back out on the street.’

“You think the criminal proceedings are a joke, and they may be in Jackson County, but then the problem comes up that you do something that comes to the attention of the United States attorney’s office, and the United States attorney’s office, under the direction from Congress, acts a little differently. They think the possession of drugs and selling of drugs and ex-felons having guns is a little bit serious, so then, all of a sudden, you’re in front of a judge that’s using the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and a prosecutor that’s prosecuting under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and you’re not going to get 120 days.

“You’re the victim of being lulled into complacency in your criminal activity by a bunch of kindhearted judges or liberal judges or activist judges, I don’t know what the hell you want to call them, but they’re abusing the system something terrible. Well, we can’t do that up here, or we don’t do that in the federal system.”

Whipple sentenced the defendant, who was 21, to nearly 22 years in prison for distributing drugs. He is serving his time at a federal prison in Louisiana.