Yesterday was a very difficult day. After months of fighting we arrived at the day of sentencing. I sat in the courtroom for four hours while case after case went through. At one point I worried I was going to pass out. I sat ram rod straight and don’t think I moved much more than blinking my eyes. It was horrific to go through. My heart goes out to everyone in this situation.
I watched as our lawyer walked over to the prosecuting attorney, saw him sit down and converse over what was obviously the fate of my son. Saw the prosecutors head swing side to side, and the look of worry on Jace attorneys face when he realized they were still not going to let Jace go.
When it came time to sentence Jace the Judge spoke about how he had this case on his mind for quite a while. This is one of the reasons I believe it is good to string along your cases in court. Be it for a good or bad reason, Jace case was on the Judge mind. This personalized Jace. It is easier to rule on a number that crosses your desk, than on a name, face, and history. It is my belief that dragging this out was to Jace benefit.
The judge reiterated that he believed not a single word my son said. But he also said he did not think Jace would re-offend. The prosecutor and Mr. Thayer argued that without previous criminal history, this was two distinct acts, which would up Jace sentence by about two years. The judge did agree that the communication and attempted rape were one offense. Anyone out there with no priors should not go to sentencing with anything but a zero offender score. This is used to determine the standard range for the offense. Jace range was 55 to 76 months. The prosecution said he was OK with using the low end of that range.
Then Mr Thayer brought up our mitigating factors: Age, Victimless, Police initiated, Lacking maturity to fully understand consequences, ADHD history. We had an outside expert evaluate and report on Jace mental maturity. It basically said that with his youthful age at the time of the incident, on top of his ADHD which causes poor choices, Jace was operating on a level years behind his age of 20. It was also reiterated repeatedly that young minds, especially male, do not mature until around age 25.
In the end the judge quoted three key pieces that determined Jace sentence. One – Dr. Stanulis ADHD and maturity evaluation of Jace. Two – the fact that the Navy discharged Jace for his ADHD history, and 3 – the character reference letter from Jace best friend Simon, AKA the Pig, where Simon says “He can be pretty stupid sometimes”.
The judge put the three of these together and determined that Jace deserved a lighter sentence and a second chance.
Jace received 18 months in prison.
I did not hear after that as my brain went wonky but I believe he also has a few years probation and the lifetime registration. He does already have 6 months in, and will receive up to 10% off for good behavior. While he will not be home for the holidays this year, he should be home early next fall.
I am preparing myself to be ready to head up to Shelton, WA on Dec 16th to be near him. I may lose my job, or live in less than ideal circumstances for the next year, but he and I will get through this together. And I will continue to blog our journey. Next big event is Dec 10th when my poster goes up in Clark County Washington asking if they PREY ON INNOCENT PEOPLE!!