Monday, April 29, 2013

KY SC - Edwards - Youthful Offenders and Violent Offender Statute

Edwards v. Harrod, 361 S.W.3d 755 (Ky. 2013)
The Kentucky Supreme Court decided a question that has created much confusion in youthful offender cases: does the violent offender statute apply to youthful offenders in the area of parole?  The court answered with a clear YES.  “(U)nder our holding today, the parole board cannot grant parole to youthful offenders who are ineligible under the Violent Offender Statute.” The Court’s rationale was that “. . . contrary to the probation-eligibility restriction of the Violent Offender Statute, the parole-eligibility limitation on violent offenders does not conflict with the youthful offender statutory scheme.”  The Court held that the differences between probation and parole justified the prohibitions in KRS 439.3401 as there was no statute within the juvenile code that specifically exempted juveniles. All youthful offenders convicted of a violent offense must serve 85% of their sentence before they can be considered for parole.  DOC is also applying the good time and meritorious credit restrictions of KRS 439.3401 to youthful offenders.  
Contributed by Renee VandenWallBake and La Mer Kyle-Griffiths