The following report was filed as a comment on the proceedings of former Ada County Probation Officer Austin Plew. Plew was charged with taking money from the private for-profit probation agency. Plew was sentenced in 4th District Court Wednesday. The author is obviously a defense attorney.
It was one of the MOST disappointing sentencings I’ve ever attended. I’ve had clients steal from employers and judges told them their betrayal of trust was the sinc qua non for putting them in prison or making them serve 180 days in jail – but THIS defendant was asked if part of the $4,500 (out of an estimated $9,000) restitution was given him as a loan from family members.
Plew answered that as soon as his conduct was discovered, he quickly obtained a different job (because he has a degree and is educated) and with the addition of his tax refund, he alone came up with half the restitution. This seemed to weigh heavily on the Court’s mind (because Judge McLaughlin mentioned it 3-4 times) even though the Prosecutor and Defense had agreed on a 2+3 sentence, the Court proved that MONEY TALKS! The Court gave him 90 days jail, with all options, asked Plew to tell the Court how much money he could afford to pay the victim(s), to make sure that the Court wasn’t setting Plew up to fail.
The court never identified Nancy Cladis and her Ada County Misdemeanor Probation Services as the victim.
The SINGLE retributive, general deterrent thing the Court DID do “because this is different,” was to deny Plew a withheld judgement, although the Court assured him that at the end of his 5 yr. probation he could come back and have his case reduced to a misdemeanor! Plew victimized the most vulnerable citizens in our community, but in the end . . . MONEY TALKS!
What about the Victim’s Rights Amendment to the Idaho Constitution? There was not a single misdemeanor probationer in the courtroom – THEY ARE THE VICTIMS!! Why didn’t the Canyon County Prosecutor–Eric Thomson–invite A SINGLE PROBATIONER to testify? IT WAS THEIR MONEY he stole! Plew was a defacto “officer of the court!!” We read about folks going to prison for their first time theft from employers but PLEW WAS ALLOWED TO WALK OUT OF THE COURTROOM! He did however say that he had met God! However what about the Biblical teaching “do unto these the least my brethern?!” TRAVESTY!
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