Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Overrules Sex-Crime Sentence
“At Parker’s initial sentencing hearing, the deputy prosecutor and the defense attorney proposed an agreed recommendation of one year in jail with credit for time served. This would have meant no more time behind bars for the ex-chiropractor.” Click >> HERE << to read the whole story.
There is so much to unpack in this short article. First, it is important to acknowledge that there were “over 20 victims.” That is over 20 mothers, daughters, and significant others. Even without knowing the details of the assaults, the number of victims makes the one-year sentence seem quite light. Wouldn't you say?
Second, although there were over 20 victims, only 8 charges were filed and half of those were dismissed by the prosecutor for the defense to agree to a stipulated trial. While there may have been good reasons why charges weren’t filed for the other victims, the resulting conviction on 4 counts (as agreed to by the deputy prosecutor and the defense attorney) was the basis for the one-year standard sentence. Additional charges on behalf of the other victims or the prosecutor not cutting the number of charges in half could have led to a longer “standard” sentence.
Third, for all we hear of judges being too lenient, the judge in this case was not only willing but wanted to impose a longer, “exceptional” sentence. What was missing was the prosecutor arguing for an exceptional sentence at the proper stage of the proceedings. This would have provided the judge the legal basis to proceed with an "exceptional" sentence.
There are times where plea and sentence agreements are appropriate, and efforts made to keep victims from having to relive their trauma on the witness stand makes sense. But agreements should require a “give and take.” In this instance, it appears the prosecutor gave up too much and gained too little in return on behalf of the victims.
As Prosecutor, my course of action would have been to charge every count that was provable, and especially if a victim was willing to testify. Remember, there were actual human victims here. This would not have been a situation where charges were “piled on” like in a one-time event where every possible violation of the law is levied against a suspect.
In any ensuing negotiations we would negotiate from a position of strength, and the possibility of an exceptional sentence would remain on the table.
As your Snohomish County Prosecutor, I will always prioritize victims and the greater community over criminals.
for Snohomish County Prosecutor (R)
Kenneth Parker listens as his sentence is handed down in Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)