Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

July 12, 2013

Underage sex video case in court

(Continued)

KNOXVILLE —

Bull believes these actions provide sufficient reason for Smith to go to prison. He said the two crimes Smith pled guilty to are not those for which an offender should "get a slap on the wrist." The victim has been permanently damaged and the Department of Corrections has indicated that Smith should go to prison. 

In his ongoing argument for imprisonment, Bull said he believes people in society today think that "I'm sorry" is sufficient to make up for any wrongdoing. 

"It isn't when you step into a court of law," Bull said. "Society needs to understand that sexual abuse of children is not okay in Iowa." 

While Bull recognized Smith's age, Smith's background indicates that he is not likely to successfully rehabilitate. He reiterated the premeditation behind Smith's crimes and how two were committed - the act itself and the distributed video.

"Those are crimes that deserve separate punishments," Bull said. 

Smith's attorney, Dawn Bowman, was then given the chance to argue her case for deferred judgement. 

"Jake Smith was 19 years old," Bowman said. In the time he's been held in the Marion County Jail, Smith has begun the GED process and would like to gain employment. He has a juvenile record that includes burglary, but not assaults. Burglaries were performed to help him subsidize his substance abuse habit. 

"Jake readily admitted to the PSI writer that he needs substance abuse treatment," Bowman said. 

Bowman said the court, and the community, have a duty to rehabilitate Smith. She added that there is no way to know if 20 years in prison would have an effect on Smith, or whether or not it would deter others. 

The crimes are serious, Bowman added, but she believes Smith is not a threat and that he is willing to get treatment.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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