Franklin drug violator released on technicality

Published 9:49 am Saturday, June 26, 2010

COURTLAND—A Franklin man who violated his probation for selling and distributing cocaine will not be returned to prison.

That’s because legal action related to Kenneth Holden’s case was not taken within the required timeframe.

Kenneth Holden’s attorney, Tom Watkins, on Thursday told Southampton County Circuit Court Judge Rodham T. Delk Jr. that he had no jurisdiction because it had been more than 21 days since Holden had his sentence suspended and he entered probation.

Delk, who had the option of sentencing Holden up to 30 years in prison, had to set him free.

The story begins after Holden was released from prison for six counts of selling and distributing cocaine and was placed on probation, contingent that he attend a program, according to testimony in court.

After being found “unacceptable” for the drug program Holden requested, he faced re-sentencing for not completing the program and violating probation.

The judge indicated that Holden has a history of having his probation revoked. He was convicted in 1999 and had his probation revoked in 2007. Holden had that sentence suspended, pending drug treatment; his probation was revoked again in 2008.

The cycle continued into 2010.

On Thursday, Delk planned to sentence Holden to 21 months in prison.

Watkins objected to the sentencing and Delk released Holden.

Southampton County Commonwealth Attorney Eric A. Cooke said this is an unusual situation, and next time he will argue against it.