Montana Judge John McKeon is being scrutinized for his decision to give a man a 60-day sentence after pleading guilty to incest with his daughter. The man, Martin Blake from Glasgow, admitted to repeatedly raping his daughter. Prosecutors had recommended a mandatory 25-year sentence.
The victim’s mother and grandmother both requested that the father not go to prison, stating that the defendant’s sons needed to have their father and would be “devastated” by the longer sentence, reported The New York Times.
In the prosecution’s request for the 25-year sentencing, they added that the defendant could argue for a lesser punishment if it was recommended by an evaluator.
McKeon is publicly stating that his decision was made in the best interest of all parties, offering the most chance for healing. After a psychosexual evaluation, the judge had the recommendation of an evaluator that the defendant could be safely treated and supervised in the community, rather than spending years in prison. This situation is unusual because the judge has chosen to publicly defend his decision, rather than remain anonymous.
McKeon, scheduled to retire next month, has been a Montana state judge for 22 years. According to the NBC News, 62,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for his impeachment. According to The Washington Post, the petition says that Judge McKeon will soon be retiring and points out that he does NOT deserve to collect retirement from the people of Montana. The petition goes on to point out why those who sign the document believe McKeon should indeed not receive retirement benefits. While in office, the judge did not fulfill the duties of his elected position. He acted without any respect for the laws set forth by the state of Montana. He did not take care of the people of the state or do his job and therefore the people should not have to take care of him.
The petition needed to reach 25,000 signatures before it can be officially submitted to Lindsey Grovom, Chief Clerk of the Montana House of Representatives. After reaching 75,000 signatures, it can be forwarded to Senators John Daines and Jon Tester.
In Montana, an impeachment requires a two-thirds vote of the house of representatives and a conviction by two-thirds vote of the senate, according to The Washington Post. This makes the actuality of impeaching McKeon practically impossible, although the public’s rebuke of his decision has been clearly made.
This form of petition, or digital activism, is becoming more common. In addition to this case in Montana, the public has responded to the cases of Ethan Couch in Texas and Brock Turner in California with similar online petitions.
By Tory Crowley
Photo Courtesy Valley County District Court