Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Court file shows Manieri sentence was Steve Simpson's decision

I'm sure that some people out there immediately jumped to the conclusion that the extremely short sentence Steve Simpson gave accused priest murderer Jeremy Wayne Manieri for child molestation came as a result of a recommendation from the prosecutor.  In most instances, prosecutors and defense attorneys work out a plea bargain agreement.  That agreement works as follows: the defendant will plead guilty (thus relieving the State of the burden of proving its case before a jury), and in exchange for that, the State will recommend a certain sentence to the judge.  In Mississippi, a judge is not bound by any plea bargain agreement.  However, most judges adhere to the recommendations most of the time, as it speeds the administration of justice.

Other times, though, a defendant will plead "open."  This means that the State and the defendant have not reached an agreement, and that there will be no recommendation to the judge as to sentencing.

That's what happened in the Manieri child molestation case less than 5 years ago.  And that means that Steve Simpson, sitting as a circuit judge, was the sole person responsible for the decision to sentence Manieri to 2 years in prison (the minimum) and then suspend one of those years.

Here's the court file:
Manieri Molestation File

Some interesting notes:

  1. Manieri was a convicted felon when he pled guilty before then-Judge Simpson for "touch(ing) or rub(bing) with his hands and tongue the vagina" of the child in question.
  2. Not only was Manieri a convicted felon at the time he pled, he was also on probation for his prior conviction of credit card fraud.
  3. The plea was an "Alford" or "best interests" plea. That means that Manieri would not admit his guilt, but did admit that if he proceeded to trial, the State had enough evidence to probably lead to a guilty verdict.
  4. The minimum sentence for this crime is 2 years in prison. The maximum is 15 years.
  5. Child molestation is a "day for day" crime, as is noted on the third page of the court file. That means no parole
  6. Manieri was sentenced by Steve Simpson on October 3, 2006 to one year in prison. A sentence of 1 year on a 15 year crime is 6% of the maximum. If Simpson had sentenced Manieri to just 33% of the maximum, Father Edward Everitt would be alive today.

1 comment:

MelBrooks said...

This is ridiculous. This guy is running for Attorney General? How could anyone think that Simpson is competent enough to serve as Attorney General of the state of Mississippi? The key issue is this: because Simpson gave Manieri the lightest sentence possible for child molestation, Manieri was not in prison where he should have been and it cost a priest his life. I want an AG that wants criminals in jail and not walking the streets along side me and my family.