In an unprecedented move, Hennepin County District Judge Paul Scoggin rejected a plea deal for Dorian Flowers, a carjacker and repeat robber. Flowers faced nearly 20 charges, and the proposed sentence of probation and a year in the workhouse was deemed inadequate by the judge due to the number of victims involved. The court expressed concerns about the frequency of downward departures and the presentence investigation’s recommendation for prison time.
This rejection marks a setback for Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty, who has faced criticism for her efforts to implement sentencing reforms. Judge Scoggin, a former prosecutor for the office, stated that he was ordering the case to trial, marking the first time in his career that he rejected a negotiation.
Flowers was the alleged accomplice of James Jones-Drain, who was accused of fleeing from a Minneapolis police officer in a stolen vehicle, resulting in a high-speed pursuit that led to the death of innocent driver Leneal Frazier. The proposed plea deal for Flowers included a year in jail and five years of supervised probation, with the potential for five years in prison if he violated probation.
Flowers currently faces 10 open felony cases in Hennepin County, including charges related to a carjacking and multiple robberies. Prosecutors dropped related charges against Jones-Drain after the conviction of Officer Brian Cummings for manslaughter. Jones-Drain was sentenced to five years in prison for illegal gun possession and robbery.
Flowers, who is not in custody, is scheduled to appear in court on October 24 for a pre-trial hearing.