Jack Gillean was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison, 10 years probation and $35,000 in fines.
Gillean will remain free under his existing $17,500 bond pending an appeal. If the Arkansas Court of Appeals declines to hear the case, or if the higher court affirms Wednesday’s verdict, Gillean will have to begin his three-year sentence. His attorneys have 30 days from the Wednesday’s judgment to file an appeal.
Under Arkansas law, Gillean may be eligible for supervised release under the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections after serving 1/3 of his sentence — one year. “Good time,” or time spent while on good behavior during incarceration may reduce this to 1/6 of his sentence before being eligible for ADCC release — meaning Gillean could be out on supervised release after six months incarceration.
Gillean was found guilty on all counts in his commercial burglary trial on Wednesday afternoon, and during the sentencing phase the prosecution introduced evidence in the form of two text message exchanges with key witness Cameron Stark in which Starks asks Gillean, or someone using Gillean’s phone, for marijuana. The messages seem to indicate that marijuana was provided by Gillean either personally or through “my guy.”
Gillean’s twin sister testified on his behalf during the sentencing phase of the trial, describing him as an outstanding student in high school, Hendrix College and UALR law school, and a dedicated public servant working for as a “liaison for with the prison system” and for the state Attorney General’s and Governor’s office before being hired at UCA. She also said that he was an “outstanding father” and “a patient, compassionate, principled man.”
Defense attorney Tim Dudley asked the jury to disregard the text messages, characterizing this evidence as the prosecution’s attempt to punish Gillean for an offense they didn’t charge him with and hadn’t proven.
“That ain’t right and that ain’t fair,” Dudley said, also asking the jury to consider the consequences of his actions that have already been visited on Gillean: “Losing his job, his reputation, being publicly humiliated, having his sex life exposed; he’ll never work as a lawyer or a professional again.”
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Braswell said that the text messages were entered in accordance with the rules of evidence, which allows evidence in the sentencing phase that wouldn’t be admissible during the guilt phase.
“He [Dudley] may not like the evidence that comes in, but we play by the rules,” Braswell said to the jury.
“[Gillean] continues to blame other people,” he also said, referring to Dudley’s claim during closing arguments and sentencing that Gillean “started running with the wrong crowd.” The consequences of Gillean’s action, Braswell said, were solely Gillean’s fault.
Braswell told the jury that Gillean’s behavior was shocking, and had created a “path of destruction” into which UCA students and the university in general was dragged, and that a “it’s okay, just write a check” sentence would not be justice in the case, but rather “an exception,” and asked the jury to “treat him like everybody else.”
The defense asked the jury to consider the least severe of the possible punishments, which could have included an “alternative sentence” that could have included no jail time or a number of days in county jail. However, the Jury picked the shortest “regular” jail term of 3 years, the maximum probationary term and significant fines.