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Lowry sentenced to eight years in Illinois prison



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FORMER POLICE COMMISSIONER and Supervisor of the Checklist Jim Lowry was transferred from the Henry County Courthouse into the care of the Illinois Department of Corrections on Oct. 13. (Illinois Corrections photo) (click for larger version)
October 21, 2010
WOLFEBORO — At age 54, Jim Lowry of Wolfeboro finds himself under the supervision of the Illinois Department of Corrections. On Oct. 13, the former police commissioner received a sentence of eight years, to be followed by three years of mandated supervised release. He is also responsible for fees totaling $2,308,470.

Most of that amount represents the assessed market value of the 900 pounds of marijuana located in the back of his pickup truck when he was arrested on Interstate 80 on March 27, 2009. The court gave him credit of $155 toward that amount at the rate of $5 a day for the 31 days he served in April of that year, and while in jail, he will continue to earn credit at the same rate.

In addition, the $50,000 offered against the $500,000 bail to allow Lowry to live in Wolfeboro while awaiting disposition of his case has been applied to the bill. A total of $2,258,470 remains.

Deputy Ken Smith of the Henry County Jail said that upon Lowry's release, a payment plan will be established. Failure to keep up with those payments can lead to return to jail. "They're strict in Henry County," said Smith. "Thirty percent of the inmates here now haven't kept up with their fines."

The eight-year stretch represents half of the 16-year cap agreed to in Lowry's partially-negotiated plea of July 30. While defense counsel argued on his behalf to reduce that time, in part citing his service as a police commissioner in Wolfeboro, the prosecution, led by Assistant State Attorney Brian Kerr, urged the court to consider that the 900 pounds equaled almost 60 times the highest amount, 12-13 pounds (5,000 grams), mentioned in the applicable Illinois statute.

Kerr said in a phone interview that Lowry's 900-pound truckload is the second highest amount he's encountered in his seven years as an attorney for the state. The next highest haul was 1,500 pounds. Most are within the 50 to 200 pound range.

In Illinois, a convict is required to serve at least half of his time, in Lowry's case, four years, before petitioning for parole. He is credited with the previous 31 days served.

Lowry's attorney, Ed Woller, declined to comment on the case, citing a pressing medical issue that would not allow time for him to respond before press time.

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