A 50 year old Seattle Man is facing a jail sentence that is greater than the maximum penalty after committing a series of domestic violence offenses. Roosevelt Reed had been released from jail for five months after a previous 15 year sentence for domestic violence when he hit his girlfriend in the face. She suffered several broken bones in her face that required several surgeries to repair. She was allegedly trying to break up with Reed when he lashed out and attacked her. He was later arrested for domestic violence after he called 911 and reported an unknown man as the attacker.
The maximum sentence for domestic violence assault is 26 years but the judge decided to sentence him to 30 years due to his history of past aggression. He has twice been convicted of domestic violence charges and has not seemed to have learned his lesson. After sentencing the judge told Reed that he:
will be released from prison “probably close to your 80th birthday”.
This ruling is controversial because sentencing guidelines are in place to prevent offenders from facing penalties that do not match their crimes. If a judge is allowed to sentence a domestic violence offender to 30 years, a first time DUI offender could face 3 years in jail if a judge sees fit.
Many people argue the opposite and feel that the judge made a good decision in increasing Reed's sentence. Before the trial he was actually offered a plea bargain of only 10 years in jail but declined to take the offer. Reed gave the impression that he did not mind serving jail time.
From a domestic violence advocacy point of view, the results of this case are ideal. A violent offender will serve many years in jail and was stopped before he took a life. From a legal point of view, it is concerning. If the practice of judges handing out whatever sentence they choose becomes more accepted, they could abuse this power.