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Category: Newsletters

An update from Lou Anna Red Corn (8/14/2018)


From the Office of Lou Anna RedCorn
Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
Hello! There’s a lot that’s new this summer – new laws effecting our office, new staff, and one “old” detective.
2018 New Kentucky Laws
Here are some of the new laws approved during the General Assembly’s 2018 session that will affect public safety and victims statewide:
Gang Bill – House Bill 169 makes gang recruitment a felony rather than a misdemeanor for adults and it stiffens penalties for offenders if gang activity is shown to be a factor in their crime. It also requires gang members convicted of violent crimes to serve 85 percent of their sentences before parole is an option. The bill’s primary sponsor was Representative Robert Benvenuti, of Lexington.
Revenge Porn – House Bill 71 creates a new section of our Penal Code’s Pornography Chapter prohibiting the distribution of sexually explicit images without consent. Referred to by some as the “revenge porn” bill, because it addresses the use of sexually-explicit photos or videos to humiliate the person photographed or to turn a profit for the person posting the photos online. The distribution of these images is a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for subsequent offenses. Penalties would be even more severe if the images were posted for profit. The bill also allows for money damages in a civil court. An individual convicted under HB 71 is not required to register as a sex offender.
Police Body Worn Cameras – House Bill 373 Body worn camera recordings are subject to release under Open Records Laws, and this bill will exempt some footage from being publicly released based upon location and content. The following are specifically exempted in the statute: the interior of private homes and medical facilities, women’s shelters and jails, or if the recording shows a dead body, evidence of sexual assault, nudity or children protected under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Video recordings from dashboard mounted cameras or recording devices used in the course of clandestine investigations are not included under this new statute. For more information about Lexington Police Department Body Worn Cameras visit Lexington Police Department Body Worn Cameras.
Marsy’s Law will give crime victims true rights in the criminal justice system and will be on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment. While Kentucky already has a statute that provides rights to crime victims, Marsy’s Law will ensure that Kentucky crime victims have constitutional-level rights and protections similar to those given to the accused. For more information about Marsy’s Law visit Marsy’s Law for Kentucky, and then vote YES on November 6th.
Meet Our New Director of Victim’s Services
Brittany Scordo and Her Team of Advocates
Crime Victim Advocates left to right: Megan Vanover, Erica Bybee, Kathy High,
Director Brittany Scordo, Jo Johnson, Blerina Gojani.
There have been some exciting changes recently in our Victim’s Services Program! Brittany Scordo is ournew Director. Brittany is from Paducah, Kentucky, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Spanish from Murray State University, along with a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville. As a former high school Spanish/English teacher with Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, Brittany brings great skills. She currently specializes in adult sexual assault and domestic violence cases.
Along with this exciting change, Jo Johnson and Erica Bybee also joined our team as Crime Victim Advocates. Jo Johnson is from Sandusky, Ohio. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Health Care. Jo was an investigative social worker with Children Services in Huron County, Ohio where she also trained various professionals on recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Jo specializes in crimes against children.
Erica Bybee is a Lexington, KY native. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Family Sciences, along with a Master’s of Social Work with a concentration in Community and Social Development from the University of Kentucky. Prior to joining the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Erica was an Americorps member as the Economic Empowerment Specialist for The Nest, Center for Women, Children and Families, while completing her Master’s degree. As a Victim Advocate, Erica specializes in domestic violence cases.
Our team helped create the video From Victim to Survivor for the Fayette County Crime Victim’s Rights Luncheon in April. The video includes powerful reflections by crime victims. You can view on the linkabove or by visiting our Facebook Page.
2018 Marks 40 years of service from Mike Malone
to the Citizens of Fayette County
Commonwealth’s Detective Mike Malone reflects on 40 years of service in an article written by our University of Kentucky Summer Undergraduate Intern Sydney Banks. Earlier this summer we celebrated Mike at an office picnic, complete with fan (above). Read more about Mike’s career.
Lou Anna RedCorn
Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
116 N Upper Street, Lexington, KY 40507

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (10/18/2017)

From the Office of Lou Anna RedCorn
Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
Hello! We’re making changes. We recently established a Special Victims Unit, to prosecute crimes committed against Lexington’s more vulnerable victims.
Show your support by
wearing purple on
Thursday, October 19th
Meet our Special Victims Unit
I am pleased to announce the creation of a Special Victims Unit (SVU) within the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Office. This unit will prosecute crimes committed against some of Lexington’s most sensitive and vulnerable victims. These are victims whose lives are significantly changed by the nature of the crimes committed against them.

The SVU will handle cases involving domestic violence, sexual assaults, human trafficking, serious physical and sexual abuse of children, and physical abuse and neglect of the elderly.  The Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys who will work in this unit asked for this assignment and they will receive specialized training for investigating and prosecuting these cases, to ensure that offenders are held accountable and that victims are protected, able to restore safety in their lives, and have a voice in the criminal justice system.  

Prosecutors from left to right: Traci Caneer, Kate Webster, Kathy Phillips, Rewa Zakharia, Lou Anna RedCorn, Todd Willard, Aaron Ann Cole, and Kimberly Henderson Baird. Also to include Amanda Naish (not pictured).
Prosecutors Giving Back
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kathy Phillips and former Crime Victim’s Advocate Robin Anderson believe every child should have a great costume for Halloween festivities. To make belief a reality, they formed Caring Costumes in 2016, and dressed many Fayette County children for Halloween. It’s that time of year, and Caring Costumes is collecting gently used costumes once again. 

Robin and Kathy have cleaned the donated costumes and will be distributing them on Saturday, October 21, 10:00 at Gardenside Christian Church. Spread the word!
Kentucky Supreme Court upholds DUI “look-back” law
Those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs will face enhanced penalties for prior DUI convictions within the last ten (10) years. In 2016, the DUI law was amended to expand the period of time, from five (5) years to ten (10) years, that prior DUI convictions could be used to enhance a current DUI charge.

Use of the 10 year look-back was challenged in courts around the state, including Fayette County. The issue was resolved last month when the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the ruling of a Warren Circuit Court Judge who had disallowed the use of prior convictions, older than 5 years, from applying to current DUI charges.

According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, Kentucky in now with the majority of states that have look-back laws of ten (10) or more years.
Read the entire opinion.
“Why I am a Victim’s Advocate”
Crime Victims Advocates occupy a unique and necessary place in the criminal justice system. They are professionals trained to support victims of crime. Advocates offer victims information and emotional support, help with finding resources and completing paperwork, and often accompany victims to court. Advocates may also contact organizations, such as criminal justice or social service agencies, to get help or information for victims.

Meet three of our amazing advocates: Our Director of Victim’s Services, Mary Lynn Houlihan, and advocates Brianna Persley and Blerina Gojani, and hear what motivates them to work on behalf of crime victims.
Lou Anna RedCorn
Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
116 N Upper Street, Lexington, KY 40507


#WhyIAmAProsecutor (9/5/2017)

From the Office of Lou Anna RedCorn
Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
Hello! We are working hard enforcing the laws, helping crime victims, and striving to keep Lexington a safe and healthy place to live. Here is an update on what’s happening in our office. 
“Why I Am A Prosecutor”
Before becoming your Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2016, I was an Assistant for thirty years. I have always been surrounded by hardworking, dedicated public servants – prosecutors, advocates, and staff – who work tirelessly for victims, for public safety and ultimately for justice. I want you to know some of these individuals like I know them. Between now and the end of 2017, we are highlighting some of the women and men of the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Office. In doing this, we are joining with the National District Attorney’s Association, to showcase the ethics, integrity and commitment of prosecutors across the nation. Each working to make their communities a better place to live.

Meet Kimberly, Paco, and Rewa…
While KRS 532.031 is entitled “Hate crimes” it does not create a crime because it does not impose any term of imprisonment. What it does do is this: 
1) permits the judge to use the designation of a hate crime as the sole basis to deny probation or some other form of conditional discharge; and 
(2) permits the Parole Board to consider that designation when delaying or denying parole.

The “hate crime” designation may only be applied to kidnaping and certain assaults, sex offenses, damage to property, arson, riot and disorderly conduct cases. 

In designating a crime a “hate crime” the judge has to find by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning more likely than not), that race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin of another individual or group of individuals , was the “primary motivating factor” in the offense. The finding is made by a judge, not a jury. 

During the 2017 Session, the statute was amended to include law enforcement by adding the following language: “or because of a person’s actual or perceived employment as a state, city, county, or federal peace officer, member of an organized fire department, or emergency medical services personnel.”

Thus, while KRS 532.031 may have some impact on how much time a defendant ultimately serves, it has no impact on the length of a defendant’s sentence. 
Steal from your client? Go to prison!
Robert Williamson
was indicted by a Fayette County Grand Jury in November, 2014, for stealing over $2 million from thirteen different victims. Mr. Williamson knew all of his victims and had developed a working relationship with each of them. They trusted him. He told each of his victims that he would invest their hard-earned money and he guaranteed a substantial return on the investment. The victims were planning to use that money in their retirements. However, instead of investing the money, he stole it and used it to live his extravagant lifestyle.  Mr. Williamson was on the run from authorities until October, 2016, when he was arrested in Florida and extradited to Kentucky. In May, 2017, Williamson pled guilty to thirteen counts of Theft By Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property over $500. The recommended sentence was 15 years. On Friday, August 4, 2017, Judge Kimberly Bunnell sentenced Williamson to 15 years in prison. The case was investigated by the Department of Insurance and Det. Michael Helsby of the Lexington Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrea Williams.
Kyle McIntosh
(above) was hired by the victims, a married couple, to help them in their business of buying and restoring old cars. The victims had a medical emergency that kept them from managing the business as closely as they once had. During that time, McIntosh stole over $300,000 from the business. He stole money, cars and parts for cars that he resold and kept the profits for himself. 
McIntosh was indicted in June of 2016, and he pled guilty in April of 2017, to a recommendation of eight years. On Friday, August 4, 2017, Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced the defendant to eight years in prison. The case was investigated by Det. Michael Helsby of the Lexington Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrea Williams.  
Lou Anna RedCorn
Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
116 N Upper Street, Lexington, KY 40507

An update from Lou Anna Red Corn (7/13/2017)

From the Office of Lou Anna RedCorn
Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
Hello!  We are working hard enforcing the laws, helping crime victims, and striving to keep Lexington a safe and healthy place to live.  Here is an update on recent changes in the law and what’s happening in our office.  
2017 New Kentucky Laws
Most of the new laws from the 2017 Session became effective June 29, 2017. These are some that will affect public safety and victims statewide:
HB 333 stiffens the penalty for trafficking in heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil.  Now selling any amount of these opioids/synthetic opioids and their derivatives is a class C felony, which is a 5-10 year sentence. Traffickers of these drugs will not be eligible for probation, but will be eligible for parole after serving 50% of their sentence.  (Previously the penalty was a class D felony, 1-5 years for less than 2 grams, probation was allowed, and parole eligibility was 15%.)
HB 222 eliminates shock probation for individuals convicted of DUI homicides manslaughter second degree or reckless homicide, and the equivalent degree of fetal homicide.  These are homicides which carry a penalty of 1-10 years.  Before this change in the law, a person convicted of these offenses could request release from custody (“shocked”) after serving between 30 and 180 days of the imposed sentence. The lead sponsor of the bill was State Rep. Robert Benvenuti III, of Lexington.
HB 67prohibits the release of autopsy images, videos or recordings, except under specific circumstances, thereby protecting the privacy rights of the deceased and their family.   
HB 38 prohibits sex offenders from being in a publicly-owned playground unless they have advanced written permission to be on site by the government body (city council, etc.) that oversees the playground.
For a summary of all new legislation, see the Department of Criminal Justice Training Center’s Summary.

Prosecutors Giving Back

This spring, we participated in a state-wide campaign to help reduce hunger.  Through the encouragement and cajoling of Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Taylor Brown and Katie Webster, our office raised over 16,000 pounds of food for the Kentucky Association of Food Banks by collecting food and volunteering at God’s Pantry. This was far more than any other agency in the state making us the Winners of the Legal Food Frenzy Government Division. 
Our cleverly-crafted
Government and
Services division trophy created by  Katie Webster!
On Saturday morning we wrapped thousands of “hot pockets” at God’s Pantry.
House Bill 40:  

In 2016, the General Assembly passed a felony expungement law allowing certain Class D felonies to be wiped off a convict’s record. Since July of 2016, our office has received 214 petitions from persons convicted of felonies in Fayette County, requesting to have their convictions expunged.  One-hundred fifty petitions were granted, but sixty-four were denied after we showed the judges that those convictions did not qualify for expungement.  To learn more about what it means to have a conviction expunged visit the  Kentucky Court of Justice website.

All of the Advocates representing the host agencies of our Victims’ Rights event.
Recognizing Crime Victims’ Rights

Prosecutors, Victims’ Advocates, Law Enforcement, Community Partners, Crime Victims and Survivors observed Crime Victims’ Rights Week in April with a resource fair and luncheon at the Fayette Circuit Courthouse. The program was a collaboration between the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Fayette County Attorney, the United States Attorney, the Fayette County Sheriff, and the Lexington Police. Five individuals were honored: Catie Embry, David Marye, Kelly Wells, Diana Ross and Leticia Hagerman. Advocates from all of the agencies were recognized and April Ballentine, a crime survivor, shared her inspirational story. 

Lou Anna RedCorn
Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
116 N Upper Street, Lexington, KY 40507

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