Archive for Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Prison time ordered in resentencing for teen rape

December 7, 2005

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Two men originally given 60 days in jail for the statutory rape of an intoxicated 13-year-old girl were ordered to prison Tuesday.

Judge Paula Martin handed down new sentences to Brian K. Ussery, of Tonganoxie, and William N. Haney, of Lawrence, after a higher court's finding earlier this year that her initial sentences were too lenient.

In two separate hearings Tuesday morning, she ordered Haney to serve 82 months in prison and Ussery to serve 65 months. The defendants' friends and family members hugged each other and sobbed after Martin issued her decision.

The victim's mother said afterward she believed justice had been served.

"The weight off my chest is just amazing," she said. "I'm satisfied with the new sentences."

Martin sparked controversy in early 2004 by giving the men probation, community service and 60 days in jail for the June 2003 rapes. Her original sentence was a departure from state sentencing guidelines, which carry a minimum penalty of nearly 13 years for rape unless a judge finds "substantial and compelling reasons" to give a lighter sentence.

Earlier this year, the Kansas Court of Appeals found Martin's original sentence was too lenient and ordered the men to be resentenced. Martin's new sentences were consistent with the higher court's recommendations.

Both Haney and Ussery were age 18 at the time of the rape, which happened at a central Lawrence apartment. Their sentencings in early 2004 led to a failed effort to vote Judge Martin off the bench in last year's retention election.

Earlier this year, Haney was sent to prison for a series of probation violations. Ussery's case was different from Haney's because, according to his attorney, Michael Clarke, he has been a model probation client.

But Assistant Dist. Atty. Brandon Jones said regardless how Ussery did on probation, the crime called for a prison sentence.

"There are some crimes, judge, that the state just does not feel are worthy of probation," Jones said. "That one night destroyed a girl's life."

A 17-year-old male and a 28-year-old Lawrence man also were charged with having sex with the girl.

The 17-year-old, Dana S. Jackson, was sentenced to 30 months in a juvenile corrections facility. The other man, Michael J. Rayton, now 30, received probation after he entered a plea to aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

But Rayton now faces an allegation that he isn't living up to terms of his probation, and Martin will decide in coming weeks whether to send him to prison.

Comments

neopolss 9 years, 8 months ago

Maybe everyone will finally shut up about this whole thing now (but probably not).

kansasboy 9 years, 8 months ago

There is no need to shut up. What if it was your mom, sister,or daughter. Paula Martin needs to get out of the justice system. Its sad that a higher court had to put pressure on her for a longer sentence. If it was me those bastards would never see the light of day!

Jay_Z 9 years, 8 months ago

Wow, shut up about this? Did you AGREE with the orginal sentencing? Thank goodness for the KS Court of Appeals. I agree, Paula Martin needs to go.

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

Funny, I thought courts of appeal existed so that judges could use individual discretion on cases and have that discretion reviewed.

I think judges need to be able to make decisions based upon their own interpretation of a situation. Sometimes, as in this case, it's not only unpopular, but also overturned by judges who are specifically designated to review the actions of other judges. Other times, they will examine a case and find that an unorthodox or unusual ruling was appropriate to the situation. It looks to me, in this case, like the system did what it was designed to do.

I have always considered the system of appeal akin to having Judge Police. If you feel a judge has erred (and in this case people did) you ask for a review.

I think that deciding the fitness of a judge based on one heavily publicized case is a little funny. I don't know what Judge Martin's overall rate of overturned decisions is. I think that would be a lot more important in deciding whether or not she is a fit judge, myself.

Does anyone have verifiable stats on her rate of overturn on appeal?

neopolss 9 years, 8 months ago

I say shut up because I am tired of hearing about it, and transforming it into everyone's personal crusade.

What IF it was my mom, sister, etc. I guess I would be at the trial and would have heard everything. As it is, I wasn't, and therefore cannot jump to a decision. Either way, I love how everyone can latch onto this one event as a failure of the justice system, when there is so much more wrong with it.

So again, yes, perhaps I'll hear no more from this.

neopolss 9 years, 8 months ago

PS - judges shouldn't be running on a popularity contest. It makes more sense that a judge is trying to be fair when they make a decision that clearly angers the public. She could have went the easy route. Hope I get her if I'm ever arrested.

Ragingbear 9 years, 8 months ago

The interesting thing is that now these guys will be able to sympathize with their victim, at least when they bend over to pick up the soap.

Justhere 9 years, 8 months ago

Before I get started, I must say that I am a parent and I have raised 3 boys and a girl. So that means that I have some experience raising children.

Now I fail to see how justice was served in this case. The law that was applied is as antiquated as the horse and buggy laws that require a motor vehicle driver to stop 100 fee before an intersection, walk to it and fire a shotgun in the air before driving through it (yes, it's still on the books today). Two hundred years ago, maybe this law would have some meaning but not in today's society. We have convicted 12 year old children on murder charges by declaring that they made an adult decision and committed an adult crime. Our society has changed and our children are more mature at an earlier age today than what they would have been two hundred years ago. It's nothing to see a 10 year old child with its own cell phone. Many parents are setting up credit cards for their pre to early teen children. All in the pretext of teaching them to be more responsible. Isn't that what is called maturity? If you feel that your child is mature enough to walk the streets late at night and needs no supervision, then that child is mature enough to make their own decisions.

In this case, I won't defend the boy's actions. They were wrong and everybody knows it, but however, they aren't the only ones to blame in this situation. The "victim" made an adult decision to participate in an adult activity, which makes "the victim" as much if not more at fault than the boys in this case. If she had of been home in bed where she should have been and not running the streets at 2 in the morning. If she wasn't searching for alcohol with the intent of getting drunk and having sex, this whole thing would have never happened. If it wasn't for an archaic law with an arbitrary number attached to it, there wouldn't have been any law broken.

I find it Ironic that 4 boy's lives have be shattered, yes, shattered. For the rest of their lives, they will be labeled "sex offenders". The "victim" walked away without so much as a reprimand. And was again seen walking the streets in the wee hours of the morning shortly after this "crime", which I can only imagine why.

If you don't want to be a parent, don't have kids and if you have kids raise them with love, not a credit card or indifference to them. Parents have enough time left in their lives after the kids are grown to have a good time and if you don't know where your kids are because you're out partying, you need to reevaluate and head home to your kids.

Justice has not been served. There were 5 victims and 5 guilty in this case. I wish people would realize how lucky the "victim" is, she is alive. I can think of a case recently about a young girl out, drinking and partying at 3 or 4 in the morning, she's not been seen since.

atremble 3 years, 10 months ago

Thank you so much for seeing the side of this that actually is logical. Everyone makes comments about "bend over and pick up the soap" but no one sees the other side. What was a 13 year old girl doing out partying at 3 am? And as stated by anyone that was in that court room, she looked older, and she told people she was older. This case HAS shattered the boys lives, and yes they deserved to be punished but labeled as "kiddie-fiddlers" would be an incorrect statement. These boys will have to live the rest of thier lives with a sex offendor status because they had sex with a willing young girl who made an adult decision and then changed her mind as soon as she got in trouble with her mommy.

Harry_Manback 9 years, 8 months ago

Justhere,

It doesn't matter how irresponsible she was or her parents. It's still a crime, so it needs to be punished.

Those were not boys, they were men who had sex with a child. That's why it's wrong. Willing or unwillingly, a child can't consent to sex or make any adult decision, and the law recognizes that.

squishypoet 9 years, 8 months ago

I think the point that Justhere was making is that our society is redefining "children". When it's convenient, we allow children to make adult decisions or to be charged as adults for crimes-- but at other times they are children who are not capable of making adult decisions. There's a double standard, I agree.

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