Kevin Lee Temples, 40, of White, was out of custody for just nine days before he allegedly led police on a high-speed chase last October.
And at a probation revocation hearing in Bartow Superior Court Tuesday morning, Cherokee Judicial Circuit Judge Suzanne H. Smith threw the proverbial book at him, sending the defendant back to prison for nine years and 170 days.
“He obviously knew right from wrong,” Judge Smith said to defense attorney Scott Fortas. “That’s a simple thing — you see a blue light, you stop the car. That’s all you’ve got to do.”
Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Brookshire said that the defendant reached speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour during the pursuit, at times darting through residential areas with posted speed limits of 35 miles per hour.
Brookshire said the defendant was also driving on a suspended license at the time.
According to Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) data, even without the most recent fleeing police charges on his record Temples already has dozens of offenses listed on his rap sheet, including two previous convictions for fleeing and/or eluding law enforcement officers.
GDC records indicate the defendant received a 20-year sentence for aggravated assault on a peace officer in 2008 and two 15-year sentences for possession of methamphetamine in both 2005 and 1997.
His record also includes a litany of forgery charges, as well as arrests for theft by taking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to representatives from the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Temples had more than 20 disciplinary reports filed while he was in prison, including reprimands for having contraband and getting into altercations with other inmates.
Fortas claimed the defendant, who had just wrapped up a 10-year “door-to-door” prison sentence before allegedly committing the new offenses last fall, did not receive any treatments for substance abuse issues while incarcerated.
“Not only does he have a drug problem that has remained untreated, No. 2, he has a mental health issue, and mental health is real,” he said. “But taking someone and putting them in jail and throwing away the key isn’t going to resolve the issue.”
Judge Smith responded by saying that she couldn’t provide a solution for the State Department of Corrections (DOC) when it comes to mental health treatment — but what she can do is protect people in the community from serial offenders.
“Enough is enough — I don’t mind giving anyone an opportunity, but not when you’re here for the third time for the same thing,” she said. “I wish I had mental health resources available, but I don’t, and I can’t manufacture those resources, but I can’t turn you out into the community, either … I just can’t do it.”
As part of a condition of revocation, Smith did include an order that the court was not opposed to the defendant being considered for a transitional center upon his release from prison. However, she noted that after sentencing him, what DOC officials ultimately do is completely out of her hands.
She also said she would include a condition that the defendant be considered for a residential substance abuse treatment (RSAT) program while in custody.
“But I can’t make a decision here today if he is eligible for the RSAT program,” she said. “I don’t know if he is because of his past history.”