Appeals court affirms sentence

SANDPOINT — The Idaho Court of Appeals is affirming a prison sentence imposed against a Sandpoint man who was accused of kidnapping an ex-girlfriend during a drug deal while on probation for felony theft.

Jason Courtney Kaelin was convicted of a 2008 burglary in Sandpoint. He was given a suspended five-year sentence and placed on probation.

Kaelin violated the terms of his probation by, among other things, incurring new criminal charges.

Kaelin was charged in 2011 with robbery, aggravated battery, second-degree kidnapping and trafficking heroin. Those charges arose from an incident in which he allegedly attacked and imprisoned his ex-girlfriend when she tried to buy drugs from him.

Kaelin ultimately pleaded guilty to felony battery and trafficking in that case.

First District Judge Benjamin Simpson revoked Kaelin’s probation in the theft case and ordered him to serve the five-year term while serving up to 11 years in the drug case.

Kaelin appealed, arguing Simpson abused his discretion by executing the underlying theft sentence without a reduction.

The appeals court disagreed, according to an unpublished opinion posted on Jan. 29.

Chief Judge Sergio Gutierrez and judges Karen Lansing and John Melanson held that Kaelin failed to show that Simpson abused his discretion and that sentencing is a matter for the trial court’s discretion.

 “Applying the foregoing standards, and having reviewed the record in this case, we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion by ordering execution of Kaelin’s underlying sentence without reduction,” the appeals judges wrote.

Kaelin, 31, is imprisoned at the Idaho Correctional Center, the state-owned facility in Kuna operated by Corrections Corporation of America. He is eligible for parole in 2017, according to the Idaho Department of Correction.

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