SUBLETTE COUNTY – After pleading guilty to a head-on collision while intoxicated on New Year’s Day 2021 that killed Shane Deal of Pinedale, Jade S. Jewkes testified in 9th District Court that she took “100-percent responsibility for the decision I made to drink and drive on Jan. 1.”
At her August 2021 sentencing hearing, Deal’s shattered family asked Judge Marv Tyler to impose the maximum penalty of 20 years. Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson argued for 17 to 20 years in prison.
On her behalf, Jewkes’ family and friends testified to her character and her true remorse. Her attorneys John LaBuda and Marci Crank Bramlet asked Judge Tyler to sentence her to 7 to 14 years so Jewkes could have hopes for a future.
Judge Tyler sentenced Jewkes to 15 to 20 years in prison for the vehicular homicide felony and 6 months for DUI. But before she spoke and he imposed the sentence, he addressed Jewkes about her “uncooperative” behavior with law enforcement and “community expectations” throughout his multi-county jurisdiction.
On July 18 the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled on Jewkes’ sentencing appeal and agreed Judge Tyler erred in considering these factors.
A defendant whose intoxicated action results in death does not have 5th Amendment protection to silence, the decision says. But that silence still can’t be a factor in sentencing, the justices agreed.
As for the judge’s varying “community expectations,” every defendant is entitled to a fair and equal sentencing, it says.
The Supreme Court remanded Jewkes’ sentencing back to 9th District Court and Judge Tyler, who reassigned the case to 3rd District Judge Joseph Bluemel.
Crosson said this week he “will most likely argue for a sentence that is similar.”