Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, USA: I wrote about Jennifer Oustrich in Aug 2018. She’s a landlord and didn’t like stray cats around her properties so left out poisoned bait and allegedly killed 2 cats.
She was charged with a felony – a serious crime. However, she was not tried for this crime but was sentenced to an ARD program. And the charges could be expunged (cancelled) at the end of the program.
The ARD program stands for ‘Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program‘. It is for first offenders in Pennsylvania. It is like probation but there is no conviction of a crime and no need to plead guilty.
Strangely the court punishes without a conviction. The crux of the matter is that this woman got of very lightly and it is likely that she will have no criminal record at the end of the ARD program.
No doubt animal advocates will be fuming. The whole criminal process will be rubbed out for this woman when it is all over despite allegedly deliberately setting out to poison to death cats and succeeding.
The alleged crimes eligible for ARD are:
- Driving Under the Influence
- Retail Theft
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Criminal Mischief
- Disorderly Conduct
I don’t see cruelty to animals there so am at a loss as to how the judge decided the ARD program was suitable.
We don’t have the judges reasoning. The fact that she was a first offender must have counted strongly in her favour. Perhaps she presented as a ‘decent’ and successful woman of good character with almost no chance of reoffending. A criminal record would have damaged her career. That was probably a major mitigating submission.