Jefferson Circuit Judge D.J. Mote sees hope for children who have experienced abuse, abandonment or neglect when there are caring adult advocates in their lives. That was the message emphasized Saturday in a event organized by CASA of Jefferson County, Foster Success, Healthy Communities of Jefferson County and Resilient Jefferson County.
Mote said the legal system sees children “in the most serious cases of maltreatment in which they’re most at risk.” That contributes to a troubled life and makes them less likely to be successful “because of the cards that were dealt them at no fault of their own. The work we are doing on a daily basis is critical because we have an opportunity to intervene in their lives as soon as we can, and try to have a positive impact on their lives.”
With the attorneys and case workers bound by requirements of law, Mote said CASA provides a Court Appointed Special Advocate who goes to court with the children and helps them with their testimony. He said those CASA volunteers are able to advocate for the children in ways that others aren’t able to, adding that there are other counties and other states “where there is no one whose job it is to speak on behalf of the child … We’re so lucky to have this organization. The children are so better served to have this organization, and to have somebody in court to do this job.”
Mote said the work of CASA volunteers is difficult but they give the “children something they desperately need, and that is hope.”
That can make a huge difference as the children are less likely be victims of repeat neglect, less likely to drop out of school and have a higher graduation rate, less likely to fall victim to substance abuse and less likely to become homeless.
Foster Success is the only non-profit in Indiana that helps youth ages 14 to 26 in the transition from foster care into adulthood through a variety of programs that provide guidance of finances, education, workforce and active engagement critical to growth and success. Three of those older youths participated in Saturday’s program.
“They are really remarkable,” said Angel Crone, senior director of Impact and Programming for Foster Success. “They have gone through a lot of hard things that nobody should have to go through at young ages” but through the support they received, they are building lives for themselves.
A local man who was convicted of fraud last year for leasing land that he did not own or have control over for $9,000 was convicted last month of forgery by a Jefferson Superior Court jury and sentenced last week by Judge Blaine Goode.
Harve Hensley, 44, who has resided in Deputy, Indiana, most of his life but has also listed addresses in Columbus and Terre Haute, was found guilty by a six-person Superior Court jury on Jan. 19 on an amended charge of forgery with intent to defraud, a Level 6 felony.
Goode sentenced Hensley on Feb. 15 to 2 years at Indiana Department of Correction, fully executed, with credit for 14 days served. He also found Hensley indigent and waived fees and court costs associated with the case.
The judge noted three aggravators in his sentencing — a history of criminal behavior, a recent violation of pretrial release conditions and that the defendant premeditated the crime — with no mitigators.
The conviction by jury trial does allow Hensley to appeal both the conviction and sentence and he has 30 days to make that decision. He exercised that option last year after another jury found him guilty of Theft, also a Level 6 felony, in the case and he was sentenced to 2 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections, with credit for 144 days already served.
The earlier verdict and sentence were affirmed by the appeals court, which ruled the lower trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Hensley’s motion for a special prosecutor, that Hensley’s conviction for theft, a Level 6 felony, was supported by sufficient evidence and that the sentence was not inappropriate to Hensley’s offense and character.
Hensley was charged with leasing land that he did not own or have control over to a grain farmer for $9,000. When the farmer showed up to plant the leased field, he found the ground had already been planted and learned that Hensley was not the rightful owner or controller of the property. When he asked to have his money refunded Hensley said it had already been spent.
A single vehicle crash on Friday, Feb. 17, in Henry County, Kentucky, resulted in the death of a Bedford, Kentucky, man.
According to Kentucky State Police, Post 5 in Campbellsburg received a 911 call regarding the single vehicle collision at approximately 6:03 p.m. on Friday. The accident occurred on Interstate 71 northbound near the 31-mile marker in Henry County.
Troopers and other first responders responded to the scene, located about 2.5 miles south of the Campbellsburg/Bedford interchange, in which the preliminary investigation indicated a 2002 GMC pickup truick was traveling north in the interstate and lost control for unknown reasons. The vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree.
The driver and only occupant of the vehicle was identified as Roger Smith Devine Jr., 53, of Bedford. He was pronounced dead at scene by the Henry County Coroner.
Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Henry County EMS and the Henry County Coroner. Kentucky State Police Post 5 is conducting an ongoing investigation.
Devine was employed by Big O Tires in La Grange, Kentucky.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Ransdell Funeral Home in Bedford. Interment will follow in the Bedford Cemetery there. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and 9 a.m. until the time of services on Thursday.