When does a Murder Conviction Serve No Prison Time

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When does a Murder Conviction Serve No Prison Time? Most would agree that murder under any circumstance is wrong. But, yet, anyone who saw the movie A Time to Kill might recognize that there are those cases, with particularly disturbing facts that can make one pause.

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Any fans of ESPN E60 might recall the name Jody Plauche. Jody was just 11 years old when he was repeatedly molested by his karate coach Jeff Doucet. On March 16, 1984, after authorities had tracked him down, Doucet was walking in the Baton Rouge airport, flanked by police officers when he was shot and killed by Jody’s father, Gary Plauche.

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Gary Plauche did not go to prison though. He was instead sentenced to a seven year suspended prison sentence, five years probation and 300 hours of community service. Why such a sentence for someone on video committing murder? His sentencing judge determined that he was “no threat to the community.”

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This post is not to debate the legalities of Gary Plauche’s actions. Those familiar with the case are likely to draw their own conclusions that have nothing to do with the law. Nor is it to debate whether Gary Plauche received a fair sentence. Was this justice? Perhaps for Jody Plauche and Gary Plauche. But what about Jeff Doucet? Doucet never got his right to a fair trial, a constitutional right bestowed on all criminal defendants. Instead, he was tried, convicted and executed by his alleged accuser’s father.

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