By Wayne Allen
Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn has filed a complaint in Scioto County Common Pleas Court challenging the authority that allows the Ohio prisons director to recommend to judges early release for certain offenders who have served 80 percent of their term.
Kuhn says at issue is the constitutional separation of powers, that’s why he intends to challenge the law.
According to an Associated Press report, “the law sets up an unconstitutional procedure that judges must follow when they get a recommendation from the director of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, according to the motion filed in Scioto County court. Establishing such procedures ‘… is a blatant encroachment by the legislature upon powers reserved to the judicial branch of Ohio government by the Ohio Constitution,’ according to the motion.
Ohio enacted several changes to sentencing law in 2011 aimed at saving money by reducing the number of low-level offenders in prison.”
Kuhn said to the Daily Times, the case in question involves Jamaica Galloway.
“Jamaica Galloway, we prosecuted her in 2006. It was a drug case, involving her and another individual bringing crack cocaine in, on a Greyhound Bus,” Kuhn said. “At the time we (Scioto County) had a Greyhound Bus stop on Scioto Trail. She (Galloway) ran and fought with police and threw crack cocaine across the parking lot.”
Kuhn said Galloway entered a guilty plea, in which she agreed to a 10-year jail sentence. Earlier this month, Ohio prisons director Gary Mohr asked a Scioto County judge to “strongly consider” releasing Galloway early based on a number of factors, including her participation in prison programs, her work history behind bars and a positive plan for her life upon release.
Galloway is scheduled to the released in July of 2016, if released her sentence would be shortened by two years.
Kuhn said the response argues the law and the facts of the case.
“One that based on the facts and the impacts it’s had on the community and her crime, she’s (Galloway) not an individual that needs to be released from prison,” Kuhn said. “(This also is) challenging some of the provisions of that bill that allows the director to do these kids of things.”
Kuhn said his response was filed in the criminal case in Scioto County Common Pleas Court and will be heard by Judge William Marshall, who was involved in the original Galloway case. Kuhn said a hearing on the matter is scheduled for later in August.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT. The Associated Press contributed to this story.