KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed a motion to oppose an appeal bond for the former Kansas City, Missouri, police detective, Eric DeValkenaere, who was convicted of manslaughter for the Dec. 3, 2019, shooting death of Cameron Lamb.
“The State maintains its position that the Defendant should not be rewarded with a special status because of his former employment,” Jackson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dion Sankar wrote in a motion to oppose the appeal bond. “He should not be treated more favorably or less favorably than similarly situated convicted persons.”
Attorneys representing DeValkenaere, 43, who worked for KCPD from 1999 until January 2022, had asked Jackson County Circuit Court Presiding Judge J. Dale Youngs to consider allowing him to remain free on bond despite his conviction during a planned appeal.
“Although the Defendant’s status as a convicted person is neither special nor unique, his request to this Court is,” Sankar wrote.
The filing notes that DeValkenaere — who was convicted on Nov. 19, 2021, of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action during a bench trial presided over by Youngs — “no longer has the presumption of innocence,” which allowed him to be free on bond during his trial and even as he awaits a March 4 sentencing.
Youngs has wide latitude under Missouri law with respect to sentencing on the manslaughter conviction, ranging from probation up to four years in prison and a fine, but armed criminal action carries a mandatory three- to 15-year sentence.
Sankar’s brief goes on to say DeValkenaere’s request “improperly minimizes the significance of the verdict.”
Post-conviction, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant — in this case, DeValkenaere — to persuade the court “that there are strong issues on appeal” to justify allowing bond, Sankar wrote. “And in this case, the Defendant has not done so.”
The Jackson County prosecutor’s filing also took exception to the claim that DeValkenaere didn’t act with malice, noting that he “disregarded his training and the law to violate Mr. Lamb’s constitutional rights.”
DeValkenaere testified that he saw Lamb point a gun at his partner, Troy Schwalm, during an encounter in the backyard of a house in the 4100 block of College Avenue.
Prosecutors contended, and Youngs ultimately agreed, that DeValkenaere had violated Lamb’s constitutional rights by not obtaining a warrant or getting permission to enter the property before the deadly encounter.
DeValkenaere’s attorneys first floated the idea of asking Youngs for an appeal bond during a Jan. 26 case management conference.
“In almost 13 years of doing this, I have never stayed execution (of a sentence) and I have never ordered an appeal bond post-verdict,” Youngs, who was appointed to the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County in 2009, said during last month’s hearing.
A grand jury indicted DeValkenaere for killing Lamb in June 2020.
Lamb’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against DeValkenaere and the KCPD Board of Police Commissioners.
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