Shawnee County Judge Matthew Dowd will not hear anymore cases involving sex offenses. Dowd, who plans to retire in September, has come under public scrutiny after granting light sentences for sex crimes.
Chief Judge Nancy Parrish said in a statement that Dowd acted
because of ``the appearance that his impartiality might be
questioned'' after intense public reaction to some of his prior
Any cases involving sex offenders that were on Judge Dowd's agenda will be reassigned to other judges in the criminal division.
The decision comes on the same day that more than 60 people gathered on the steps of the courthouse to protest the Judge (see below).
Topeka, KS (WIBW) - Signs reading Dowd with a large "x" marked through them were held by more than 60 people on the steps of the Shawnee County Courthouse Monday.
Those who came out said they believe Judge Matthew Dowd is not providing justice to the victims in several cases he is overseeing. They say they are fed up with him and this protest was meant to gain the attention of voters in Shawnee County to make a change.
"They have to have a good reason to deviate from sentencing guidelines. Well, I haven't seen one yet," said Sue Lyon. "The victims have a life sentence. It will come up off and on throughout their whole life."
"I have a 5 year-old daughter and I think it's ridiculous that someone is being given 3 years probation for what he did to a young girl," said Olivia Kemp.
"I just want the punishment to fit the crime," said Brian Renfro.
Not everyone feels the same way. Ashlee Spencer's daughter was the victim of abuse from her grandfather Harold Spencer. Spencer says her daughter is fine and that probation was all he needed. "I think he's a great judge," said Spencer of Judge Dowd.
To hear more from Spencer and others you can click on the video icon at the top of the story.