On Monday, December 2, at a 20-minute hearing, an agreement was announced between Paul Henry Gingerich and Dan Hampton, the Kosciusko County Attorney, Mike Dempsey, Executive Director of the Indiana juvenile prison system, Paul Henry’s parents Paul and Nicole Gingerich, and defense attorney Monica Foster. This agreement obviates the need for a new waiver hearing.
As long as Paul Henry complies with the terms of the deal, this agreement takes adult prison off the table forever.
It also allows the juvenile system to keep Paul Henry in its custody and at the same time step down his restrictions. Paul Henry is doing very well in the juvenile system. He will continue with his counseling and finish high school at Pendleton in the general population, where he will be eligible to participate in the full range of services. When he completes his high school (probably next summer), Paul Henry will likely be transferred to a group home setting. Paul Henry will also start college.
This agreement potentially lowers Paul Henry’s period of incarceration from 25 years to 6, and the involvement of the state in his life from 30 years to 15.
While a lot of readers would have preferred that Paul Henry got off scot-free with time served (under the assumption that he has already learned his lesson), I believe that this agreement is appropriate. A man that Paul Henry barely knew is dead, and no one disputes that Paul Henry had a hand in it as an accomplice. Murder is a very serious transgression, even for a 12-year-old. It is traditionally believed in our culture that someone knows the difference between right and wrong at age 7.
Paul Henry was a victim of peer pressure, bullying, and poor judgement. Colt Lundy was the perpetrator of the crime and, based on new research into his background, is serving an appropriate sentence. Paul Henry was an accomplice in a crime which turns out not to have been justified. In a world of consequences, being young and stupid only buys you so much leniency.
This act calls for more than a mere slap on the wrist. Although he would prefer immediate freedom, Paul Henry is pleased with the agreement and thinks it is fair. Paul Henry’s father has told me he would have accepted this sentence as reasonable if the Kosciusko court had originally ruled this way.
In agreeing to this, prosecutor Dan Hampton has greatly rehabilitated the reputation of the Kosciusko County Court.
Ironically, Paul Henry’s original sentence did much to encourage passage of a new dual sentencing law in Indiana for juveniles, which actually raised the risks of taking his case to court for a new waiver hearing and trial. He could have ended up receiving a more severe sentence than that which was announced today.
The agreement was to have originally included an agreement that when Paul Henry reaches 18, Mr. Hampton and Monica Foster would file a joint modification for his release on probation with conditions, not to last longer than age 27. But at the last minute, this provision was deleted, even though Monica will file at that time. Monica emailed me that the joint filing was not going through, and I misunderstood this to mean that the entire agreement had caught a snag. But it did go through and is final.
In any event, when it is filed, the court has agreed that the modification will only take into account Paul Henry’s rehabilitation since he entered the juvenile system, excluding the original crime.
“I am extremely appreciative of having reached this resolution with Mr. Hampton,” said Monica Foster. “This was a terrible crime, and we have arrived at a good outcome not only for Paul Henry, but for the community.”
Reference:dandailey, Facebook Themis Papaioannou
And Themis Papaioannou wrote on Facebook:
A thought to ponder…
So did Paul’s case actually help change the System as some of us were hoping? I think not. The way I see it the outcome [although better for Paul] was not really a good one. It would have been good if his cased was waived to Juvenile Court. 12 and 15 year olds are JUVENILES not adults, when people understand this FACT a better day will finally come.