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Court upholds conviction for criminal damage to property against former animal rescue president

Heidi Lueders was sentenced to 15 months in prison. However, Lueders has not served any of that time because she was granted an appellate bond.

Rose Shannon

May 23, 2024, 5:18 PM

Updated 28 days ago

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A state appeals court has upheld the conviction of Heidi Lueders for criminal damage to property.
Lueders, a former president of a pit bull rescue, was charged in the death of five dogs in 2018.
In 2022, a judge acquitted Lueders of animal cruelty charges but found her guilty of destroying the rental home where she lived and kept the dogs.
She was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
However, Lueders has not served any of that time because she was granted an appellate bond.
A portion of the decision read as follow:
There was overwhelming evidence that the deceased dogs had been in the defendant's care and that they had perished two to ten months prior to being discovered in the home from which she ran a dog rescue. Much of the damage to the home, which the defendant was convicted of causing, resulted from the dogs' carcasses and the toxins that emanated as they were left to rot. In fact, many of the facts and circumstances related to the acquitted charges also bore on the convicted offense. The court's acknowledgment that the ''death of those five innocent dogs do impact me on this'' and its observation that it ''was their damage'' from being ''left to rot'' reflects this. The court had a reasonable and persuasive basis for considering the evidence regarding the defendant's conduct in relation to the death of the dogs when it sentenced her for criminal damage to her landlord's property, and it did not abuse its broad discretion or violate her due process rights in doing so. Trial judges ought not be reprimanded for acknowledging on the record the impact of information they have gained in the plea bargaining or sentencing processes unless the use of such information confounds reason and a just result'' Thus, the defendant's claims that her due process rights were violated at sentencing must fail. The judgment is affirmed.


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