As-it-happened coverage: Serial burglar Sean Jeardoe sentenced to 3+-year prison sentence with mandatory drug treatment

February 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 21 Comments

2:16 PM: We’re in the courtroom of King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer, who is presiding right now over the sentencing hearing for 21-year-old Sean Jeardoe. We first reported on his case after his arrest in a stolen truck in the West Seattle Thriftway parking lot last summer; he was not charged immediately, but was arrested again in connection with multiple other cases. As reported here in December, he confessed to 22 burglaries, not just in West Seattle, but in other areas of King County, and struck a deal to plead guilty to 14 charges – eight of them residential burglaries, plus three auto-theft-related charges and three gun-theft charges. The recommended sentence is eight and a half years. We’ll update as this goes.

2:20 PM: The prosecutor says some of his victims are in court and six letters have been submitted to the judge as well. (This was originally scheduled for a different judge, but as we noticed while covering another case last week, the sentencing calendars sometimes move around.) There’s now a short delay because the judge has ordered the defendant be unshackled for the proceedings. A second courthouse deputy had to be called; he said that it’s policy for the restraints NOT to be removed for this type of hearing, but she ordered it anyway.

The prosecutor says Jeardoe actually eventually confessed to 31 burglaries. “Coming into this from a negotiation standpoint, the state acknowledges he has no (felony) history. He appears to have a drug addiction….” He mentions that Jeardoe pointed out much of what he did; the judge asks if he helped them get some victims’ property back. Some, yes, the prosecutor says, but “there are still countless pieces of jewelry that have been melted down or gone off into pawn shops …” He now mentions that a residential burglary affects a victim forever, with sense of security, separate from whether the items can be replaced. “Based on the number of crimes and magnitude of this crime spree, the state is NOT recommending the low-end sentence or a prison-based (drug treatment) DOSA sentence.”

Before hearing from victims, the judge says she has something to say: “Mr.Jeardoe by operation of law gets credit for the time he’s already served – six months – so the maximum sentence I have to impose is 8 years … and (he will be) eligible for up to 50 percent ‘good time,’ so his sentence could be as low as 4 years. … So whatever age he’s going to be when released, I have to think about … what will protect the community.” She says she’s “looking seriously” at the drug-treatment-sentence request of the defense, which would be a mid-range sentence, and once he’s out, if he messes up again, he will have to go back for the rest of the full term. Now, she says, she welcomes victims to speak, now that they know what she’s thinking.

2:30 PM: Now a man whose home was broken into and vehicle stolen last August is speaking. “I hope Mr. Jeardoe realizes that not all the damage he’s done can be expressed in dollars and cents.” He speaks of losing items that were of great sentimental value, as well as financial records, house and vehicle keys, information that could make him vulnerable to ID theft. That said, he says he realizes that Jeardoe is a young man and hopefully can turn his life around.

The defense lawyer says Jeardoe’s history of addiction “was based in his childhood.” She calls attention to the fact his crime spree was over a matter of months but says his addiction is a serious problem and if not dealt with, he could wind up back in these straits again. Now Jeardoe’s father is speaking. He thanks victims for coming to court. He says they adopted him as a baby and he was subject to alcohol and drugs “in utero” but says that is no excuse. He has long been getting counseling for substance abuse, Jeardoe’s father says, and also mentions he spent a year in intensive treatment out of state and ‘did very well’ but relapsed upon returning here. He says his son needs to pay for his crimes but also needs some sort of “mandatory drug treatment.”

2:35 PM: Jeardoe speaks, turning to the gallery and saying “I know it’s not enough to say I’m sorry …” as he apologizes. Judge Shaffer says she has seen many burglary victims: “It’s always devastating, always. …There’s this destroyed sense of security – people never really feel they can sleep securely after that.” What he was doing “was devastating,” she admonishes him. Especially stealing some items that “can’t be gotten back.” She mentions that one victim for which this was particularly devastating was a West Seattle man who he used to live across the street from, “and they couldn’t believe he would do this to them” – it roiled the whole neighborhood. “This is a big deal, you’ve done a lot of wrong here.” She tells him “the work of getting clean and sober” is the best way he can apologize. She asks him to prove to his victims he can do that hard work. She says, “I want all the victims to know the court takes what happened very seriously but I want to make sure there are no more victims in Mr. Jeardoe’s history.” She says DOSA is “not an easy way to go” and that if he doesn’t do well he will go right back into prison. And she orders it. So this means, according to what the prosecutor just said, his prison time will total less than half of what prosecutors had sought – 44.7 months. He would then be on probation (community custody) for a roughly equal time once he gets out. The treatment, she explains, will likely start closer to release. (DOSA – drug offender sentencing alternative – is explained here.) There also will be a hearing on restitution – “all the restitution the state can prove within (the next six months, per law)” – for victims.

21 Comments

  1. This is the same judge that reduced bail on the 11 time felon from $100k to $25k. Now she cuts the prosecutions sentence in half. So he gets two months for each burglary he was tagged for. She needs to go.

    Comment by Please — 3:22 pm February 7, 2014 #

  2. She sentenced him for longer than just the 44.7 months if I’m reading this correctly. With 8 years he could be out in 4 with good behavior.
    .
    Her way he has nearly 4 years behind bars and then another 4 probation with treatment. If he screws up the probation, he is back behind bars for another 44.7 months.

    Comment by dsa — 4:04 pm February 7, 2014 #

  3. 8 1/2 years was the prosecution’s recommendation, basically equivalent to the longest sentence for any of the charges, with all sentences running concurrently. After she pronounced the sentence to be the DOSA version, which she had described as “mid-range,” the prosecuting attorney then read off the resulting sentences, and 44 was the longest. I’m checking with the KCPAO, though, just to be sure – asking a followup question in the courtroom isn’t always possible – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:16 pm February 7, 2014 #

  4. She also would not allow the poor dear to be shackled in the courtroom, even though it’s standard procedure is such sentencing cases. In several recent cases, judges have pronounced sentences that were half of what the prosecutor asked for. It appears that judges are the problem, and since they often run unopposed – there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution. In the meantime, criminals hold the winning hand.

    Comment by anonyme — 4:19 pm February 7, 2014 #

  5. I think it sounds right. A longer sentence doesn’t repair anything. There is a chance the drug treatment will be effective, and that would be the best outcome for everybody. I just hope that the state adequately funds the treatment and supervision so that there is no shortage of help and support as he attempts to re-enter society drug-free.
    .
    I want to offer my sincere appreciation to the young man’s adoptive parents. Our society works better because you stepped up and did a decent thing raising this young man. I thank you. You took in a perfect, innocent baby, and loved him even though you probably always knew that he had been injured before birth.
    .
    Yes, he went on a sustained addiction-fueled crime spree with many victims. Yet society gains nothing by having him in shackles during sentencing. That doesn’t restore anyone’s loss. There are many losses here, and I think the judge is right to consider all of them.
    .

    Comment by Community Member — 4:46 pm February 7, 2014 #

  6. I think you can have drug treatment and long sentences. I imagine that it is a bit harder to get drugs in prison and he will go cold turkey for 8 years (4 in reality with time off). He just might kick the habit with treatment. Why sentence him to 4 years (2 years with good behavior)? It just lets him steal from you and me that much earlier.
    .
    I am pretty liberal but if you do the crime, you need to do the time. I do my part in society and I expect others to do theirs. If I eff up, I suffer the consequences. That is why I try my best to stay within societies limits.

    Comment by Eric1 — 5:47 pm February 7, 2014 #

  7. Wow, same judge that some unknown reason reduced the 11 felon convict’s bail by 3/4. Pathetic

    Comment by Eric — 6:02 pm February 7, 2014 #

  8. All I know is that I have never been burglarized by someone who is locked up. Long jail terms work for me.

    Comment by Marty — 7:09 pm February 7, 2014 #

  9. The constant issuing of “wholesale rate” sentencing appalls me. Rob 32 people but get sentenced the same as if you robbed one.

    No reason *not* to keep on committing crimes since you won’t end up in jail any longer than for one.

    It simply encourages vermin to continue in their chosen career as the profits go up if you commit more crime and the cost (punishment) does not.

    Seems to me even convicted for 8 felonies qualifies this fine upstanding person to the sentencing afforded a lifetime career criminal.

    Comment by Jim P. — 7:10 pm February 7, 2014 #

  10. I’m not sure how the judge’s handling of bail in a different case pertains to this situation unless we’re to conclude this is enough to constitute a pattern of some sort. Not knowing any of the particulars about the bail hearing, that seems to be a stretch.
    I understand this sentencing to involve 4 years of incarceration followed by four years of supervised drug treatment rather than simply 8 years of incarceration. While it’s true that relapse is high for meth addicts, it’s also true the recovery is less likely to happen without treatment. So it seems like several iffy choices are the best the judge had to draw on. I think she made the best of what she had to deal with.
    Reading about the history of drugs and alcohol, presumably on the part of the mother, I’m reminded of how many infants are adopted by well-intended couples who wind up dealing with serious cognitive and behavioral problems. It’s heart-breaking because there is often so little that can be done to work through those difficulties, assuming the adoptive parents have the emotional and financial wherewithal to deal with it all. I know people who stayed the course, suffered greatly and still wound up with children who were marginal at best. I think many in those situations, give up, let the kid go or kick them out when things get crazy and the public gets to absorb the consequences as in this case. Makes me wonder if our overall drug policy and addiction treatment resources could be better. Of course, decriminalizing hard drugs is not going to happen in this country when “just say no” is so much more appealing to those who believe this is all simply a matter of personal morality.

    Comment by JTB — 7:35 pm February 7, 2014 #

  11. I have another comment – build more jails! I could give flying rats a– if it’s not the answer. Treatment? Seriously people? This guy (and the like) needs to do 3 years for EACH burglary. Let’s send a REAL message to burglars. “We’ve had ENOUGH!”.

    Comment by Cityboy222 — 7:45 am February 8, 2014 #

  12. “Let’s send a REAL message to burglars.”
    .
    Unfortunately, that message will never reach someone who is deep in their addiction and solely focused on their next drug acquisition. If only it were so easy to dissuade an addict.
    .
    Get rid of pawn shops, that will cut down on burglaries.

    Comment by Community Member — 9:27 am February 8, 2014 #

  13. “Get rid of pawn shops, that will cut down on burglaries.”
    Comment by Community Member — 9:27 am February 8, 2014

    This is the best comment, concerning home burglaries, I’ve heard in a while. I’ve seen some pretty shady looking characters bringing gold, coins, jewelry and etc to a well known Seattle business establishment and walking out the door with cash in hand, seemingly with no questions asked.

    Comment by phil dirt — 10:58 am February 8, 2014 #

  14. Cityboy, where should the taxes to build, maintain, and staff all of those new jails come from?

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 12:48 pm February 8, 2014 #

  15. get rid of pawn shops?

    really?

    how about we get rid of cars…aren’t they used in bank robberies and carjackings?

    why not get rid of iPhones too….then 12 year olds won’t be robbed for them?

    Comment by joel — 5:36 pm February 9, 2014 #

  16. MIke…taxes to build and maintain jails? the money is already there it’s just being spent in other ways.

    why do we have money to pay judges, courts, attorneys, police etc to investigate and prosecute crime but we don’t have money to lock them up? allowing these criminals to walk the streets provides job security for a lot of people. lock them up for longer and you can cut the court costs and police response and investigating etc……..

    it’s like we don’t have money to buy books for schools….sure there is plenty of money for this it’s just being spent to try and dig a tunnel instead.

    Comment by joel — 5:40 pm February 9, 2014 #

  17. Build more jails and prisons? Take a look at this. http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2012/us-incarceration.aspx

    Comment by stats are for people too — 2:40 pm February 12, 2014 #

  18. This guy just has a drug problem 3 years ago he had a normal life he worked at star bucks or some sh–. West Seattle turnt him out he’s from the boonies and you could tell, when he started coming out here around this side he was always getting punked and sh–.
    Dude is not some life time career criminal, dont get your panties in a bunch. How could you say anybody was a career anything at such a young age? Some people dont understand most criminals are just drug addicts That can’t hold a job and need to support there habit. They never save any money, they aren’t really beating the system living it up, you all live a much better existence than they do. The best way to fight crime is by far to fight drug addiction, The two go hand in hand. it almost always starts before one is old enough to make good decisions for their self. I’m sure many of the people on here that are so quick to judge are christian, so try to remember the compassion you are supposed to have for all of God’s children. Anyways from somebody that actually has real first hand knowledge I think the sentence is good, that’s the only way he might possibly change his life. Usually people with drug problems do not benefit from prison alone, it does not help them resolve there issues that are holding them back from becoming contributing members of society and enjoying those benefits.

    Comment by goo — 9:39 am February 19, 2014 #

  19. It’s pathetic to hear that “we can’t lock people up to solve their drug problems”. This little crook won’t be able to rob people or use drugs while he’s sitting in prison. He should be serving the whole 8 years in prison, not some laughable DOSA sentence where he’ll be able to run amok the way he did before he was convicted. He’ll be back to preying on hard-working and law-abiding West Seattleites sooner thanks to this cringing, criminal-coddling judge.

    Comment by Brad — 4:49 pm February 19, 2014 #

  20. Actually drugs are readily available in prison the price is just inflated due to more limited supply. And dosa only means less time if he stays clean, he will actually do more time than without dosa if he uses drugs or fails to comply with the requirements and conditions the state imposes upon release. Anyways what i really wanted to do is ask you to please learn a little bit about addiction. You sound ignorant to me, saying drug addicts should be jailed to solve their problems. That wont in itself solve anything. fyi there is a major genetic component to addiction

    Comment by oggogo — 12:49 pm February 21, 2014 #

  21. Amen on the comment above about the availability of drugs in prison. I always find most comments regarding current events on various news media websites to be quite entertaining. The pure ignorance of those who shoot off their mouth making such snide remarks about things of which they know absolutely nothing about almost makes me feel embarrassed to admit that I live in the same community as these people. Jim P., this man never “robbed” anyone nor have I ever witnessed any “vermin” with ANY kind of “career” whatsoever. I wish I had the time to go through and correct or edit all of the incorrect and fictional if not delusional parts of the comments of this subject, leaving only the factual information for the readers to process. But I, like many of you, have my societal obligations to fulfill as well. Sean Jeardoe was a young man running in a positive direction toward a brief military career (at the least) before he moved to this community. I don’t have a factual account of where and when he started his life of crime, therefore I will not speculate on that aspect, but Here are a few FACTS about the young man who caused so much grief and pain in our community over the last few years. I did not have the privilege of making his acquaintance until approximately June 2013 so my experience and knowledge comes only from what has happened since. 20y.o. meth addict falls in love with 33y.o. local heroin addict/meth addict/hooker/burglar/thug. She introduces him to heroin, she gets pregnant with his baby, and he feels obligated to be a good father and be part of his childs life because his girlfriend has already had one child (whom is not with her) and he doesn’t want to see that happen to his puppeteer again. Now you have a 20y.o. man who not only has to feed himself and his dual addictions, but he must support her addictions and feed her and his unborn child (who was born a heroin addict). Now, If I were in his exact same situation, I honestly don’t have any idea on where I would start to take care of “my family.” The pregnant girlfriend’s mother passed away when she was a young girl, and her father (her best friend) has been out of prison almost two years now. This is the LONGEST amount of time the heroin addict/residential burglar/whiskey thief has been out of prison his whole 30 something years of his adult life. So the woman shows the boy the ins and outs of breaking into houses, what to take, what to leave, where to pawn/sell/fence the stolen merchandise,etc. (Do you remember the part where he is from a small town with a good upbringing) And as I have began to lead you to the conclusion of this rant about your homegrown, unwed mother of (two children now, but has custody of neither)burglar/heroin addict/meth addict/thieving hooker from where? wait for it…… here it comes….WEST SEATTLE!!! Sean Jeardoe just needs to not come back to West Seattle looking for the love of his life when released from prison. If he can avoid making that fatal mistake,I would bet half of my life that his debt to society will have matured into an equitable investment in a future upstanding, productive, contributing (to another community) member of this broken republic we live in. To be continued…..

    Comment by Mark — 8:21 am February 27, 2014 #

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