Kentucky Corrections Commissioner Found In Contempt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The head of the Kentucky Department of Corrections was found in contempt of court Friday for not following a court order to release an inmate.

Commissioner John Rees "willfully violated" a court order from last month when he refused to release inmate Daniel Ottman, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman said in a hearing. She's expected to rule on Rees' sentence next week - which could be a fine or jail time.

Rees said the department would appeal McDonald-Burkman's decision.

"I personally feel I was correct," Rees told The (Louisville) Courier-Journal outside the courtroom.

Rees was ordered in June to release Ottman. But, Rees claimed the 18-year-old was not eligible for shock probation - a form of early release - because he was convicted of a violent offense, first degree assault.

Under Kentucky law, adults convicted of violent offenses are not allowed shock probation. But, there is an exception under a 2006 Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling that allows it for juvenile offenders. Ottman was a juvenile when he was arrested.

McDonald-Burkman said Ottman should be eligible for shock probation while the state Supreme Court reviews the decision in the other case.

This marks at least the second time Rees has disobeyed a judge's order in recent months to release a juvenile on shock probation. Rees said judges sometimes make mistakes.

Rob Eggert, Ottman's attorney, said Rees should comply.

"You cannot just decide, 'I'm not going to obey the order," Eggert said during the hearing.

Eggert said Rees should be sentenced to six days in jail. That's the same amount of time Ottman spent in jail after he was ordered released.
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Information from: The Courier-Journal,
http://www.courier-journal.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Annalu Location: KY on Jul 25, 2007 at 08:02 PM
    This type of arrogance doesn't surprise me in the least. I worked in the Department of Corrections for years and this particular Commissioner is out of control and above the law. Just ask the state employees that have to work under his regime. He should be replaced, but apparently Fletcher thinks he walks on water. Let's hope both of them are gone soon. Anyone who defies a Judge's order should pay the price. I'm sure this Ottman guy is no saint but I have worked with this Judge on numerous occasions and her decisions have been impeccable. She is a very tough and fair Judge.
  • by LuLu Location: whereeveriwannabe on Jul 16, 2007 at 06:19 AM
    Kentucky Corrections Commissioner Found In Contempt, Not Once But Twice!!!!! FIRE HIM HE ISNT THE MAN FOR THIS JOB!!!! Maybe HE Will think about Running For JUDGE!
  • by opinionated Location: ky on Jul 16, 2007 at 06:13 AM
    I think that Commissioner John Rees should spend a little more time then just 6 days. This is not right. Who does he think he is God! He is not and that keeping a person behind bars when a Judge states to release him is illegal. That would be the same to me as kidnapping and keeping a person against their will. What difference is that to what this man has done to this young offender. If he has been deemed to deserve a second chance by a Judge, then who does Commissioner John Rees think he is to say no!
  • by SPIKE LEE OF KY.BB Location: LEX,KY. on Jul 13, 2007 at 01:33 PM
    THIS IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF FLETCHER'S ADMINISTRATION,ARROGANCE,AND WITH THE MIND SET THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW.JR'S JOB IS TO HOUSE NOT TO SENTENCE.IT SICKENS ME THAT THIS ADIMISTRATION JUST WALK OVER ALL OF KENTUCKIANS.THIS MATTER IS NOT HIS CALL. IF PENCE WAS STILL WITH FLETCHER AS HEAD OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT THIS MATTER WOULDN'T BE A ISSUE.DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY FLETCHER'S PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY DO.JUSTY LIKE THE JUDGE IN THE PARIS HILTON CASE,THIS JUDGE SHOULD GET STRONG AND MAKE JR DO THE TIME.AND IF YOU EVER GET THE CHANCE TO SEE JR IN PERSON YOU WILL AGREE WITH ME.BESHEAR IT,FLETCHER NOT IT.LET'S ROLL.

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