An attorney for Jackie McConnell, who faces sentencing in Chattanooga next Tuesday in a horse abuse case, said there was no mention during plea negotiations "of a fine - much less a maximum fine."
Attorney Hugh Moore Jr. said in a 25-page sentencing memorandum that all parties had agreed that the Collierville, Tn., horse trainer would get probation.
McConnell, who was caught abusing a horse on a secretly taped video, is due to be sentenced by Judge Sandy Mattice.
Attorney Moore said McConnell has already agreed to a lifetime ban from showing horses in any show.
He said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has already assessed a $150,000 fine against McConnell and "no further fine is necessary to promote respect for the law." The fine would have to be paid if he violates the terms of his lifetime ban, it was stated.
The attorney said McConnell "has taken full responsibility for his actions" and the case "has been devastating for him."
He said he has "already suffered the full and complete loss and destruction of occupation, income, and reputation."
The sentencing memorandum says, "Although the Government argues for a large fine now principally for deterrence purposes, the plain fact is that no additional specific or general deterrence is reasonably needed in this case. If other persons aware of this case would not be deterred first by arrest, seizure of property, Federal indictment and subsequent court proceedings, conviction as a felon, and USDA administrative proceedings—followed by the constant drum-beat of negative local, regional and national publicity, stories played and re-played on every national news channel and ABC’s Nightline, complete loss of reputation, abandonment by former “friends” and the “Industry,” and being the daily subject of utter contempt and hatred expressed from around the world—no amount of fine will ever work any additional deterrence.
"Although the suggestion is not made lightly, the maximum-fine-as-deterrence argument in this case is, respectfully, a sham. If deterrence were really the objective, the Government would have mentioned the prospect of a large fine previous to its sentencing memorandum, and would likely have sought some sort of agreement in its plea agreement. Indeed, it would have sought larger fines in all of the other cases that have preceded Mr. McConnell’s, as the same argument would presumably be applicable. That it did not, and has not, shows that the Government’s position here is advocated essentially to redeem itself among those who are most vocal in their criticism. Whatever merit this approach may have from a public relations perspective, it is not among the factors appropriate for consideration at sentencing."
Attorney Moore said over 50 letters of support were written for McConnell by family and friends "who actually know him."
He said McConnell "has a reputation for honesty, integrity and compassion."