Shock Probation Causing Controversy In Kentucky

There's controversy about the use of shock probation in Kentucky. One family says it's being granted to the wrong people.

On Monday, an admitted drunk driver in Clark County received shock probation. He served five months of a two year prison sentence for killing his passenger.

Now, a family who lost their son to a drunk driver is calling for change.

Six years ago, Richard Moskwa and his 24-year-old son, Richard, were driving from Michigan through Northern Kentucky. Suddenly, two cars racing on the interstate ran into their minivan.

"The last works my son said to me, 'Dad, we got hit by a car,'" Richard Moskwa said. "I grabbed the steering wheel, that was it."

Richard survived with serious injuries, but his son died.

Two drivers were convicted of being drunk behind the wheel. A judge sentenced one to 13 years in prison. But he got shock probation, and only served 8 months in jail.

"We were devastated," Debbie Moskwa, Richard's mother said. "We were floored. We couldn't believe that this could be allowed."

Now Debbie and Richard Moskwa are spending a week in the state capital, hoping to make a change.

Kentucky lawmakers first gave judges the option of shock probation in the early 1970's. But Senate Bill 25 would take it away only in cases where a DUI accident results in a death.

But the bill may not even be heard in committee. Senator Jack Westwood says the committee chair tells him the bill would take away a judge's decision. But Westwood says Kentucky's law is the exception, not the rule.

He believes judges are misusing the power of shock probation.

Westwood says he's not against shock probation in general. He says it's just a mistake in cases when people are killed in drunk driving crashes.

As for the Moskwas, they say they don't want another family to experience the pain they've had.

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  • by Emily Location: Hardinsburg on Nov 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM
    I agree that shock probation is being given to the wrong people. My husband was sentenced to two years probation for a first time misdemeanor possession of marijuana in 2010,a crime which would now only get you a fine. He is now serving 12 months in jail because his probation was revoked. He has been denied shock three times now and we have an 8 month old son I am raising by myself. The Jessamine County jail is so over crowed that my husband is being held at the Taylor County Detention Center and it is costing the tax payers of Jessamine County $27 dollars a day to house him there. He had cell mates who only served 95 days for manufacturing meth. I have no clue what is going on and how things like this can happen.
  • by jessica Location: mt. sterling on Apr 2, 2008 at 08:13 PM
    i do agree with that, that is rediculous to let someone out on shock probation for killing someone but my fiance is in jail for theft by unlawful taking over 3oo dollars and in his case i think shock probation would be good, so he can get out and we can start our lives together.
  • by How do I support this? on Mar 19, 2008 at 12:14 PM
    My family member was killed by a drunk driver and I would like to lobby for this bill to pass. How could someone serve 8 months for killing a person in such a violent manner? This is an outrage.
  • by Brad Location: Lexington on Mar 19, 2008 at 01:54 AM
    Best of Luck and I agree with you folks.


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