October 23, 2009 in Idaho

Idaho Court of Appeals rejects killer’s claim

Associated Press
 

The Idaho Court of Appeals has rejected a request for post-conviction relief made by a man serving a life sentence for killing a U.S. Forest Service law officer in northern Idaho two decades ago.

The court ruled earlier this month that it had previously rejected Joseph Earl Pratt’s Rule 35 motion — a request asking for a more lenient sentence based on various claims.

Pratt argued that his sentences on two felony battery charges were improper because that meant he was being punished multiple times for a single act.

“Pratt has already litigated in prior Rule 35 motions the issue whether double jeopardy and merger preclude multiple punishments because the crimes were allegedly one continuous course of conduct,” Chief Judge Karen Lansing said in the opinion filed earlier this month. “He now seeks to circumvent the appeals process by reasserting the same issues.”

Pratt is one of two brothers convicted of murdering U.S. Forest Service officer Brent Jacobson in 1989.

Jacobson bled to death after being hit by a shotgun blast during a shootout near Dover in the northern Idaho woods after police had chased Pratt and his brother, James Kevin Pratt, after a failed home robbery in Sagle.

Judges David Gratton and John Melanson agreed with Lansing in the opinion.

Joseph Pratt, 48, was convicted on a number of charges, including aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, attempted first-degree murder, first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and burglary.

James Pratt, 50, was sentenced to death, but the Idaho Supreme Court voided the sentence in 1993 as excessive. He now is serving a life prison term without the possibility of parole.

The two men are imprisoned at the Idaho State Correctional Institution near Boise.

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