Archive for Thursday, June 14, 2001

State seeks prison time for Pfannenstiel

June 14, 2001

Leavenworth County prosecutors want to secure additional prison time for former Basehor mayor John Pfannenstiel.

Leavenworth County Victim Witness Coordinator Deborah Owens said the state is seeking the additional time because of the severity of Pfannenstiel's crimes.

"He was in a position of authority and he abused that authority," Owens said. "He knew what he was doing and used his power over another person."

Pfannenstiel was convicted March 23 in Leavenworth County District Court of three counts of having sexual relations with inmates while he was a corrections officer at the Lansing Correctional Facility. He was acquitted on a charge of bringing contraband into a correctional facility.

ontraband into a correctional facility.

Pfannenstiel was to be sentenced Friday, June 8. However, prosecutors requested a continuance so they could research the possibility of extended prison time. A judge rescheduled the sentencing hearing for July 13.

Under Kansas sentencing guidelines, Pfannenstiel's three convictions call for a prison term of 5-7 months, and with no criminal background, Pfannenstiel is a candidate for probation.

According to Owens, the sentence the state is seeking would be more than two years to be served at an out-of-state facility.

However, prosecutors face a road block. The United States and Kansas supreme courts have ruled that tacking on additional prison time, outside of what laws dictate, is unconstitutional in most circumstances.

Prosecutor Roger Marrs plans to present research based on several cases involving sentencing departures at the July hearing. He hopes his research will persuade the court to make an exception with Pfannenstiel.

Defense attorney Terry Lober said upward departures in sentencing are unconstitutional and the prosecution's efforts are frivolous.

"I don't know what there is to research," Lober said. "There is no way around it."

Lober said he would wait for the prosecution to file its motion before doing his own research into the sentencing.

The prosecution's request is another setback in a long line of disappointments for the defense.

Last month, in an attempt to receive a new trial, the defense produced a document that recants the trial testimony of the three inmates who accused Pfannenstiel of sexual misconduct.

However, the motion for a new trial was denied by the judge in the case.

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