The Minnesota Court of Appeals, Tuesday, denied the appeal made by former Sibley East transportation director Kevin Jones to reduce his 144-month state prison sentence.
The Court of Appeals, in its decision, affirmed the sentence given the District Court here in June 2009.
Kevin Jones was convicted in June 2009 of first degree criminal sexual conduct. In the fall of 2008, he was charged with five counts of criminal sexual contract after he reported had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student. The relationship lasted for nearly two years, according to court documents. He served as the student’s transportation director, bus driver for athletic events, and as a supervisor during the girl’s summer employment at the school.
Judge Stauber, in affirming the decision, noted that the district court found that Jones’ depression did not “impair his mental abilities or judgment to such an extent that he was unable to plan and execute his plan.”
A district court may depart from the presumptive guideline sentence only when “substantial and compelling circumstances are present,” Stauber wrote. “Whether to depart from the guidelines rests within the district court’s discretion, and this court will not reverse the district court absent an abuse of that discretion”.
A departure from the sentencing guidelines may be based on the mitigating factor that an “offender, because of physical or mental impairment, lacked substantial capacity for judgment when the offense was committed,” according to court documents.
Although Jones argued that the district court abused its discretion by denying his motion for a downward departure in sentencing because of the testimony of mental health professionals and that he was depressed and lacked substantial capacity for judgment, the court disagreed. “Although the district court agreed that appellant suffered from depression that resulted from the death of his daughter, the court found that appellant “clearly had the mental capacity to know that his actions were wrong, that they needed to be kept secret and to plan to ensure that it would in fact be kept secret.”
In addition to the 144 months in State Prison, Jones was also convicted on a charge of misdemeanor violation of a restraining order. He was given a 90-day concurrent sentence for that violation.