U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. sentenced former 16th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney T.J. Hively to five years in federal prison Sept. 16 and ordered Hively to pay back money he laundered through an intermediary.
Hively, a Batesville native, was convicted of four counts of mail fraud and one count of racketeering in March.
Howard suspended two years of Hively's sentence, meaning he will serve only three years in prison. He said the suspension was the result of Hively's active role in church and the Batesville community.
U.S. District Attorney Bud Cummins said the sentence was lower than federal guidelines mandate. He said the minimum sentence under federal law for the crimes Hively committed is six and one half years.
Cummins said the federal sentencing guideline system is being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court. Howard said if the Supreme Court decides the federal sentencing guidelines are constitutional, Hively's sentence will be increased to the federal minimum.The government will file an appeal in the case. "In a case were a federal judge does not adhere to the federal sentencing guidelines, an appeal is automatic. It's really just a technicality," said Cummins.
Hively, the 16th prosecutor from 1993 to 1998, was found guilty of using his elected office as a criminal enterprise. Cummins said Hively received monetary reimbursements from the government which he was not entitled too.
"He falsified work claims and received $341,030 in child support enforcement funds," Cummins said.
Hively was also convicted of receiving $88,361 in state and federal drug task force grants, for which he was ineligible.
Hively submitted reimbursement requests in the name of his law partner Wesley "Butch" Ketz.Ketz was sentenced to two years in prison, with three years suspended for his role in the scheme.
In 2001, Hively was charged with 64 counts of racketeering and fraud. In March of 2002, U.S. District Judge James Moody dropped 48 of the charges. Cummins said Moody was to rule on the remaining 16 charges when it was discovered that Moody had represented Hively in a civil case several years ago.
Moody recused himself from the case and it was turned over to Judge Howard.
Howard ordered Hively to report Oct. 18 to the prison the Bureau of Prisons selects for him. Howard said he will recommend that Hively be incarcerated in the minimum security prison at Eglin Air Force base in Florida.
Cummins said Hively wanted to serve his time in Florida because he has relatives there.
Hively is expected to appeal.