Legal Question: Persistant felons and perjury charges...(Mel Ignatow)

I’ve always wondered about the “being a persistent felon” aspect of law-enforcement. I’m looking at today’s Courier-Journal, which has a story on Mel Ignatow. A little background: Mel Ignatow killed Brenda Sue Schaefer in 1988. He testified before a grand jury that he had nothing to do with her death, and was axquitted for lack of evidence. He subsequently admitted that he did, in fact, kill her.

In 1992, evidence came to light to support this. He was then sentenced to five years in a federal prison for perjury. Upon his release in 1997, he was then charged with perjury on a state level, and “being a persistent felon.” He was convicted, and sentenced to nine years in prison for these charges.

According to everything I have read, Ignatow had no prior criminal history before this killing. If both perjury instances happened at the same occasion (lying to the state and federal grand juries), how does this particular instance qualify as a “persistent felon?” What criteria is used to determine whether someone is a persistent felon?

Your facts are a bit off.

He had a prior conviction for filing false tax returns which makes this a third strike.

This perjury charge related to his testimony in the trial of a man charged with threatening him. Though this trial was related to the murder it was a completely seperate proceding.

Persistant felon is not an additional charge but an aggravating factor in sentencing like the three strikes law.

By the way, the 1992 confession came after a video tape of him torturing the girl was found.

I don’t see much of a problem with this particular conviction. It is the previous one that did an end run around double jeopardy though even that charge the charges related to statements he made to the grand jury (I think this institution has been completely perverted in the US but that is another issue) rather than at his trial.

So are yours. Just a bit.

For the record, it was an undeveloped roll of film. Other than that, though, I appreciate your answer. I’m not a lawyer. Not even close. But the intricacies have always fascinated me. Thank you.