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Snodgrass v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

November 17, 2017

KAY SNODGRASS APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM KENTON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE GREGORY BARTLETT, JUDGE ACTION NO. 16-CR-00334-001

          BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Susan Jackson Balliet Frankfort, Kentucky

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky Joseph Andrew Beckett Frankfort, Kentucky

          BEFORE: KRAMER, CHIEF JUDGE; JOHNSON AND MAZE, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          JOHNSON, JUDGE.

         This is an appeal by Kay Snodgrass ("Snodgrass"), from the October 31, 2016 Final Order of the Kenton Circuit Court. Snodgrass appeals the order alleging that her due process rights were violated when the court allowed the Commonwealth of Kentucky ("Commonwealth") to introduce evidence at sentencing relating to uncharged misconduct, dismissed charges and unverified community complaints. After reviewing the record in conjunction with the applicable legal authorities we AFFIRM the Final Order of the court.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 28, 2016, Snodgrass was indicted on several charges: Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, first degree, two or more grams heroin, 2ndoffense, or complicity thereof;[1] Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, first degree, less than two grams heroin, or complicity thereof;[2] and Possession of a Controlled Substance, first degree.[3]

         On September 16, 2016, Snodgrass accepted a plea agreement reducing the charges on condition of a guilty plea leading to a total of ten years to serve. The plea agreement also allowed Snodgrass to be free to argue for a lesser or alternative sentence. A Pre-Sentencing Investigative report (PSI) was ordered to be prepared by the Division of Probation and Parole.

         On October 28, 2016, Snodgrass appeared with her attorney before the court for her final sentencing hearing. At the hearing Snodgrass acknowledged her drug problem, expressed remorse and indicated to the court that she would attempt to change her lifestyle. The Commonwealth stated that Snodgrass' recent behavior was not a single episode in her life, but part of habitual criminal drug activity. The Commonwealth called Sgt. Justin Wietholter ("witness") of the Covington Police Department to testify about problems in the neighborhood from 2013 until 2016, concerning the activities of Snodgrass, her character and background. Witness testified about complaints sent to the police department through e-mails, the police department's investigation and surveillance of Snodgrass, and her uncharged criminal activity of the past all dating back to 2013.

         After hearing from all parties, reviewing the PSI report, taking in consideration the nature and circumstances of the crime, and the history, character and condition of Snodgrass, the court on October 31, 2016, entered an order accepting the recommended sentence of the Commonwealth and sentenced Snodgrass to ten years in prison.

         On November 7, 2016, Snodgrass appealed the final Judgment and Sentence of Imprisonment entered on October 31, 2016.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Sentencing decisions are ultimately within the sound discretion of the court, therefore we review them for an abuse of discretion. We will not disturb the court's ruling unless its decision was arbitrary, unreasonable, unfair, or unsupported by sound legal principles. Howard v. Commonwealth, 496 ...


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