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Porter gets jail time

By Staff | Jun 16, 2008

Jeff Porter

Despite his attorney’s motion to have his sentence reconsidered, a sex offender is behind bars for violating a registration requirement.

On Mon-day, Fari-bault County District Judge Douglas Richards sentenced Jeffrey Lynn Porter to 30 days in county jail and fined him $1,077.

“Yeah I’m surprised. That wasn’t the agreement. That’s not what my attorney told me,” Porter says of the time he’ll spend in jail.

The 66-year-old Winne-bago man was given credit for seven days already served and reported to jail on Friday to serve the remaining time.

Richards told Porter if he’s unable to pay the fine, he may do so by working on the Sentence to Serve crew.

On Tuesday, public defender William Grogin filed a motion to set a court date for re-sentencing after talking with Porter.

A hearing on his request was held Thursday morning. Grogin told Richards there was miscommunication with his client about jail time being part of an agreement reached with Faribault County Attorney Brian Roverud.

“I believed he (Porter) was in agreement with this. It was my mistake,” says Grogin.

Porter told Richards it was his understanding he would do Sentence to Serve, instead of going to jail.

“I feel I was misrepresented. I honestly believed I wasn’t going to jail,” says Porter.

Roverud says he stands by his recommendation that Porter spend time in jail.

“I feel he should take some responsibility,” Roverud adds.

Richards called Porter’s sentence “fair and just” because of the seriousness of the crime. He rejected Grogin’s motion for re-sentencing.

At Monday’s sentencing, Roverud told Richards a “presumptive sentence” in Porter’s case would be 14 months. However, he asked the court to execute only 30 days of the sentence and a stay of adjudication for the remainder.

After he was sentenced, Porter asked Richards if he could read a letter before the court and if a witness could speak on his behalf.

Richards told Porter the letter and the witness should have been presented before sentencing, however, he did grant his request.

Porter says he didn’t read his letter right away on the advice of his attorney.

“He told me, ‘You don’t have to read the letter, you aren’t going to jail.’ Then he turns around and says, ‘I’m sorry.’ He lied to me,” Porter says of Grogin.

In his letter, Porter explains he left Fargo, N.D., once he heard of his friend’s death, Miguel Angel Lopez, last July.

He contends he told local authorities of his whereabouts and was assured they would contact North Dakota authorities for him.

“My whole intention was not to be elusive,” Porter told the judge.

He says he wanted to make sure family members understood legal issues surrounding the murder investigation and to ensure their concerns were addressed.

Miguel’s father — Catarino Lopez — spoke through an interpreter.

He told Richards that Porter was “a close friend of the family” who was going to provide translation services.

Lopez says Porter went with family members to Hope, Ark., to make funeral arrangements.

“I feel bad and responsible for his predicament,” Lopez says. “I do especially request that you take this into consideration.”

When they returned to Minnesota, says Lopez, Porter found out he was in big trouble for failing to report his current address.

Winnebago police arrested Porter in October and last March he pleaded guilty by entering an Alford plea.

He acknowledged there may be enough evidence for a jury to convict him, but he did not admit any guilt.

The registration violation charge is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.