A West Monroe man whose criminal record includes drug dealing arrests extending to the 1980s was sentenced this year in three cases for dealing methamphetamine, though his prison sentences were partially suspended in favor of probation.
Thanks to the partially suspended sentences, Mark Edward Leehy, 53, of West Monroe, will spend less time in prison and will benefit from the dismissal of numerous charges against him as well.
Leehy’s brother is Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Scott Leehy, of Monroe.
For example, Leehy received a sentence of five years in prison for possession of meth with intent to distribute during a Jan. 23 court hearing. The court suspended three years of the five-year sentence and placed him on three years of supervised probation instead.
At the time of his arrest in June 2018, Leehy had more than 55 grams of meth and some two ounces of marijuana in his possession.
Fourth Judicial District Attorney Steve Tew’s office dropped the marijuana charge.
Of Leehy’s sentence for dealing meth in January, Tew said the court’s sentence fell within the sentencing range allowed under state law.
Leehy’s criminal record reveals multiple drug charges beginning in 1984 until this year, whether for possession of marijuana or meth, or for distributing drugs. Metro Narcotics Unit warrants describe Leehy as responsible for bringing in a large amount of meth into Ouachita Parish.
Shortly after Leehy was sentenced in January, another case cropped up in Fourth Judicial District Court against him, involving two counts of possession of meth with intent to distribute.
The affidavit and warrant supporting Leehy’s arrest for distribution of meth were filed at the district court on Jan. 28.
The meth distribution charges against Leehy were based on a June 1, 2018 warrant by a Metro Narcotics officer who worked with a cooperating witness to gather evidence of Leehy’s drug transactions.
According to the warrant, Leehy sold two ounces of meth to the cooperating witness and gave the witness an additional ounce of meth to sell on consignment.
The cooperating witness was wearing electronic monitoring equipment and using $700 in pre-recorded drug buy money, allowing agents to observe the completion of the drug sale.
The warrant indicated two drug transactions in May 2018 that ultimately resulted in two counts of possession of meth with intent to distribute.
Leehy’s 72-hour hearing was taken up in Scott Leehy’s courtroom on Feb. 1. Court minutes from that hearing show that retired Judge Benjamin “Ben” Jones — who is the court administrator at the district court — presided over Leehy’s hearing.
Fourth Judicial District Court Chief Judge Danny Ellender and the other 10 judges at the district court — including Scott Leehy —signed an en banc, or full court, order of recusal on Feb. 6.
As with other recent cases involving Leehy, retired Judge Rae Swent of Alexandria was appointed as an ad hoc, or special purpose, judge.
In March, Leehy pleaded guilty to each of the two meth distribution charges. Swent simply repeated the sentence she imposed in January and gave Leehy five years in prison at hard labor while suspending three years of the five years and placing him on Leehy on supervised probation. His sentence was set to run concurrently, or simultaneously, to the other partially suspended sentence imposed in January.
The district attorney’s office did not file a habitual offender bill.
11 charges dropped
in one case
In July 2017, Leehy pleaded guilty to possession of meth in one of two cases and was sentenced to three years in prison at hard labor, but the court suspended Leehy’s sentence and placed him on three years of supervised probation.
Leehy’s sentencing in the second of the two cases was taken up during the same July 2017 court hearing. He pleaded guilty to possession of meth.
Under the plea agreement, 11 other counts against Leehy were dismissed, including possession of drugs, possession of guns in the presence of drugs, aggravated flight from an officer and more.
In the second case, the court again sentenced Leehy to three years in prison at hard labor but suspended the sentence in favor of three years probation. The sentences in the two cases were set to run concurrently, or simultaneously.