« New National Academy of Sciences effort seeking to unpack the crime decline | Main | "California’s Continuing Prison Crisis" »

August 11, 2013

Another high-profile federal capital case ends in an LWOP plea deal

As reported in this local piece from Vermont, another high-profile murder in a state without the death penalty which became a federal capital case has now come to a close via a plea bargain to an LWOP term. (As reported in this post, the other comparable case, US v. Plaeu, came out of Rhode Island and was settled this way a few weeks ago.) Here are the basics:

The upcoming death penalty trial of Michael Jacques has been called off, the United States Attorney’s Office announced Friday.   As part of a plea deal worked out with lawyers for Jacques, the alleged killer of his 12 year-old niece Brooke Bennett in 2008, Jacques, now 47, will instead plead guilty to the crime and agree to a sentence of life without parole.

The announcement came less than four weeks before the jury selection process for the Jacques trial was set to begin, and just six days before a final pre-trial hearing in the case.... [An official] statement said Holder made the decision based on a recent request by Jacques’ defense team to reconsider the government’s intention to seek a death penalty sentence if it succeeded in convicting Jacques of kidnapping and killing Bennett. “The request for reconsideration raised issues related to the certainty and finality in the process that would be achieved by a plea of guilty to a sentence of mandatory life and the potential impact on a victim-witness of a trial, among other issues,” the statement said....

David Ruhnke, a New Jersey attorney and member of Jacques’ defense team who is an expert in death penalty cases, welcomed the decision by Holder. “We believe this is a just resolution of the case,” Ruhnke said in a statement to the Burlington Free Press....

Bennett went missing on June 25, 2008. Her body was found a week later covered over with dirt about a mile from Jacques’ home in East Randolph.  In the days she after she went missing, the case attracted national media attention as police undertook a massive search for her and staged daily news conferences about their efforts.  Jacques, in the early days of the search, appeared to be helping police look for her, tipping the searchers to a site in Brookfield where he claimed to have found some of her clothing.  Police later determined he placed the items there to throw police off track.

On June 29, 2008, as the search was intensifying, Jacques was arrested on a separate sexual assault charge involving a 14 year-old female relative identified in court papers as “Juvenile 1.” The next day, police labeled him as a “person of interest” in Bennett’s disappearance and, after her body was found, identified him as her alleged killer.

As police assembled the evidence against Jacques, they discovered that he had begun plotting to kidnap and possible kill his niece at least a month earlier.  He also appeared to have gone to great lengths to make it look like she was the victim of an international ring of men called Breckenridge, which preyed on young girls....

In the weeks after his arrest, a deeper, darker picture of who Jacques as a serial sex predator began to emerge.  Court records show Jacques engaged in sex acts with three different underage girls when he was a teen or, in one case, 20 years old. In two of the cases, the charges were not pursued; in a third, he was given a deferred sentence for lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor. In that case he allegedly engaging in more than 100 sex acts with an underage family relative whom he eventually impregnated. The case was later dismissed by the court.

In 1992, he was charged and later convicted in adult court of abducting and raping an 18-year-old West Rutland woman. Police affidavits from that case said he tied a rope around her neck, threatened to kill her and forced her to perform sex acts on him for several hours.  He was sentenced to a six- to 20-year prison term in that case, but was released early for good behavior.  In 2004, his lawyer persuaded Judge Amy Davenport to shorten his time on probation by seven years because Jacques’ probation officer viewed Jacques as a “probation success story.”...

After Holder, in 2009, agreed to seek the death penalty for Jacques if convicted, Jacques’s lawyers raised a variety of challenges, saying that using the death penalty in the case was unconstitutional and asking that the trial be moved elsewhere because of heavy coverage of the crime.  Those arguments were turned aside by [US District Judge William K.] Sessions and the appellate court.  Sessions, earlier this year, said it might be necessary to query 5,000 prospective jurors before an unbiased jury could be selected. The trial had it gone forward, had been expected to last for between two and three months.

August 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e201901ebd2930970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Another high-profile federal capital case ends in an LWOP plea deal:

Comments

123D.

First, part of the plea deal should include revelation of all his victims, and the whereabouts of their bodies. The completeness of his list should be verified with extended water boarding sessions, with his consent.

He is likely to have had far more victims than listed.

If true, every single one after the third is the full responsibility of the lawyer traitor profession. They had him in their grasp several times, assumed that people can change against all evidence, and loosed him on the girls of his community. To deter these lawyer traitors, all sovereign immunities must end, especially those of his judges.

Until tort liability, a substitute for violence, is enacted, a direct action group has full logical and moral responsibility to lash the lawyer traitors. To deter.

Had there been 123D in place, we would likely be several innocent little girls ahead, maybe even dozens. Thank the lawyer traitor for the taking, raping, and murder of these innocent little girls. They were as foreseeable as the orbits of planets, except in their Twilight Zone world. This is a lawyer made natural catastrophe.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 11, 2013 12:59:11 PM

"In 1992, he was charged and later convicted in adult court of abducting and raping an 18-year-old West Rutland woman. Police affidavits from that case said he tied a rope around her neck, threatened to kill her and forced her to perform sex acts on him for several hours. He was sentenced to a six- to 20-year prison term in that case, but was released early for good behavior. In 2004, his lawyer persuaded Judge Amy Davenport to shorten his time on probation by seven years because Jacques’ probation officer viewed Jacques as a “probation success story.”...

That's cool. A "probation success story."

So he was safe for release, except for being an unrepentant sadist. I'm sure his lawyer is proud of his work duping the judge.

And who winds up paying the price for the duping? The lawyer? The judge? Nope. Some innocent person just trying to live his life.

It's really quite something how the defense side is ever ready to volunteer other people to get hurt and killed so that they can pride themselves on their morally anesthetized zealousness.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 11, 2013 9:17:04 PM

Plea deals like this are a good reason to keep the death penalty around.

Posted by: William Jockusch | Aug 12, 2013 2:38:32 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB