Sixty days after she was sentenced to a year in jail for the hit-and-run death of Evans handyman Barry Moss, Gabriele Ballowe applied for early release from jail.
The Erie County Department of Probation’s Conditional Release Commission quickly denied her application.
Ballowe, 51, was sentenced in December after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of a physical injury incident without reporting it. Three years before, in the early hours of Dec. 23, 2013, Ballowe's SUV struck and killed Moss, 52, when he was walking along Route 5.
Ballowe drove away and never came forward about the incident.
The early release program is available to offenders who receive a sentence of one year or less, and is generally used to assist in rehabilitation, according to prosecutors. People granted early release serve the remainder of their terms under the supervision of the county Probation Department.
The District Attorney's Office did not consider Ballowe a good candidate for the program.
“Ms. Ballowe committed a serious crime, and in response to her request, our office vehemently opposed any opportunity for her to avoid serving her full sentence,” District Attorney John J. Flynn said in a statement.
Assistant District Attorney Nicholas T. Texido of the DA’s Appeals Bureau, who handled the case, said his office emphasized that the Moss family had waited for three years to see the case resolved, and that they were very pleased when State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns sentenced Ballowe to a full year in jail.
"To now go back after the fact and change that would victimize them again," Texido said.
Texido said prosecutors were also concerned about the message it would send to the community should Ballowe be freed after serving barely a quarter of her sentence.
"It's already tough to prosecute when people leave the scene (of a hit and run)," Texido said. "To even further reduce her sentence would make it worse."
He said he also pointed out that, other than saying "guilty," Ballowe never took ownership of her crime, even to the point that, when the charge said she fled the scene, she quibbled, "I didn't flee. I left."
Before making its decision, the commission also sought input from the judge. In his response, Burns wrote, "I believe that the one-year definite sentence is fair," and added that if he thought less time was appropriate, that would have been his sentence.
Texido said that, once the responses were filed, the commission made its decision to deny "very quickly."
— Aaron Besecker (@AaronBesecker) March 22, 2017
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