In 2009, James Kidd, a 37-year-old Gulf War veteran, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Kentucky court for drug trafficking. He sold only one pill and had no prior felony record.
Instead of jail time, a judge ordered Kidd to five years probation on the condition that he leave Kentucky and live elsewhere.
When his mother became ill in 2012, Kidd returned to Kentucky to visit. A judge revoked his probation and ordered him to serve the 10-year prison term.
"We should not be imprisoning a wounded veteran for 10 years at an average year's cost of $21,906 … because he was technically in violation of his conditions of probation,” Public Advocate Ed Monahan said, as reported by USA Today.
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Kidd served three years of his prison term before recently being paroled.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments this week on whether Kidd was rightly sentenced by Circuit Judge Thomas Jones or whether Kidd should have received a lesser sentence of electronic monitoring.
Supporters of Kidd feel that he was unfairly punished. “After all, Kidd had not picked up any new charges, in any station, during the two and one half years he was on probation,” Kidd’s lawyer, Assistant Public Advocate Brandon Jewell said, according to the Inquisitor.
A bill has been proposed in Kentucky to reduce penalties for drug-related crimes.
“We have a fair number of return customers,” Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown said. “A lot of the time, they don’t adapt very well when they’re released. They can’t find a job, they go back to the same home, they go back to the same neighborhood where they got in trouble the last time. We’re working very hard at addressing that now."