Monday, June 12, 1989

Officer Clarence Ratliff - Sentenced - Grand Rapids PD





Murdered ex-wife, Judge Carol Irons [Kent County]:

Officer Clarence Ratliff's assault of first wife, while on duty [1975]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/1975/03/officer-clarence-ratliff-grand-rapids.html

Officer Clarence Ratliff's murder of ex-wife Judge Carol Irons [1988]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/1994/08/officer-clarence-ratliff-grand-rapids.html

Officer Clarence Ratliff shot at Officer John Den Boer after killing Judge Irons [1988]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/1988/10/officer-clarence-ratliff-shot-at_19.html

Officer Clarence Ratliff shot at Officer Daniel Ostopowicz after killing Judge Irons [1988]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/1988/10/officer-clarence-ratliff-shot-at.html

Officer Clarence Ratliff sentenced for murder of Judge Carol Irons [1989]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/10/oidv-offender-update-clarence-ratliff.html

Clarence Ratliff's sentence confirmed [1991]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/12/oidv-offender-appeal-clarence-ratliff.html

Judge Irons' murderer requests to be freed from prison [2011]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2011/05/former-grand-rapids-officer-clarence.html

Judge Irons' murderer, Clarence Ratliff dies in prison [2011]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2011/05/murderer-former-cop-asks-to-die-free.html











This is the sentence that Officer Ratliff received for murdering his ex-wife Judge Carol Irons: 15 years for manslaughter. Ratliff was charged with first-degree murder, but the jurors believed that Judge Irons provoked Ratliff...





Ratliff received two life sentences for shooting at the police officers who came to Judge Irons' rescue, because the jurors handed down a verdict of assault with intent to commit murder...







ORIGINAL CHARGES: ONE COUNT OF 1ST DEGREE MURDER; AND TWO COUNTS OF ASSAULT W/INTENT TO MURDER

MDOC NUMBER: 201810
CURRENT STATUS: PRISONER- RELEASED TO MENTAL HEALTH OR CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCY [10/18/1990]
LOCATION: UNITED STATES PRISON
SECURITY LEVEL: V
EARLIEST RELEASE DATE: LIFE
MAXIMUM DISCHARGE DATE: LIFE

SENTENCE 1:
OFFENSE: WEAPONS- FELONY FIREARM

MCL #: 750.227BA
COURT FILE # : 8846542FC
COUNTY: KENT
CONVICTION TYPE: JURY
MINIMUM SENTENCE: 2 YEARS 0 MONTHS 0 DAYS
MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 2 YEARS 0 MONTHS
DATE OF OFFENSE: 10/19/1988
DATE OF SENTENCE: 06/12/1989

SENTENCE 2:
OFFENSE: WEAPONS- FELONY FIREARM
MCL #: 750.227BA
COURT FILE # : 8846542FC
COUNTY: KENT
CONVICTION TYPE: JURY
MINIMUM SENTENCE: 2 YEARS 0 MONTHS 2 DAYS
MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 2 YEARS 0 MONTHS
DATE OF OFFENSE: 10/19/1988
DATE OF SENTENCE: 06/12/1989

SENTENCE 3:
OFFENSE: MANSLAUGHTER

MCL #: 750.321
COURT FILE # : 8846542FC
COUNTY: KENT
CONVICTION TYPE: JURY
MINIMUM SENTENCE: 10 YEARS 0 MONTHS
MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 15 YEARS 0 MONTHS
DATE OF OFFENSE: 10/19/1988
DATE OF SENTENCE: 06/12/1989

SENTENCE 4:
OFFENSE: ASSAULT W/INTENT TO COMMIT MURDER

MCL #: 750.83
COURT FILE # : 8846542FC
COUNTY: KENT
CONVICTION TYPE: JURY
MINIMUM SENTENCE: LIFE
MAXIMUM SENTENCE: LIFE
DATE OF OFFENSE: 10/19/1988
DATE OF SENTENCE: 06/12/1989

SENTENCE 5:
OFFENSE: ASSAULT W/INTENT TO COMMIT MURDER

MCL #: 750.83
COURT FILE # : 8846542FC
COUNTY: KENT
CONVICTION TYPE: JURY
MINIMUM SENTENCE: LIFE
MAXIMUM SENTENCE: LIFE
DATE OF OFFENSE: 10/19/1988
DATE OF SENTENCE: 06/12/1989





Ex-Policeman Gets Two Life Terms for Slaying Wife, Firing at Officers
June 13, 1989
The Associated Press
Los Angeles Times
http://articles.latimes.com/1989-06-13/news/mn-2117_1_three-fellow-officers-circuit-judge-dennis-kolenda-third-officer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A former policeman received two life prison sentences Monday for fatally shooting his estranged wife in her judicial chambers and firing at three fellow officers.

Clarence Ratliff, 53, showed no emotion when Circuit Judge Dennis Kolenda announced his punishment for the Oct. 19 shootings at the Kent County Hall of Justice that claimed the life of District Judge Carol S. Irons, 40.

Kolenda told Ratliff that his punishment "must show that no one is above the law."

Kolenda's office was flooded with thousands of letters requesting that Ratliff receive the harshest penalty allowable after a jury May 11 convicted the former officer of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Ratliff, a 21-year veteran of the city Police Department, had been charged with first-degree murder.

Kolenda said he stepped outside sentencing guidelines because of the crime's seriousness, its location, public sentiment and Ratliff's position of trust in the community.

The former officer received the life sentences for his conviction on two counts of assault with intent to murder for shooting at two officers who came to Irons' aid.

Ratliff got 10 to 15 years for the manslaughter conviction, as well as a term of from two years and eight months to four years for assault with a firearm, for shooting at a third officer. None of the officers were wounded. All the penalties were concurrent, except for a two-year sentence for using a firearm during commission of a felony.











GRAND RAPIDS JUDGE'S KILLER RECEIVES 2 LIFE PRISON TERMS
LISA PERLMAN Associated Press
June 13, 1989
Detroit Free Press
(MI)GRAND RAPIDS -- Exceeding sentence guidelines to show that "no one is above the law," a judge Monday gave former police officer Clarence Ratliff two life prison terms for firing on other officers after killing his estranged wife, a district judge.

The heavy sentences followed outcry over Ratliff being convicted of voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum 15-year sentence, in the shooting of Judge Carol Irons last Oct. 19 at the Kent County Hall of Justice.

Judge Dennis Kolenda gave Ratliff 10 to 15 years on the manslaughter charge.

He imposed the two life terms for assault with intent to murder in the shoot-out with other police who were coming to help Irons.

Ratliff, 53, showed no emotion and declined to speak as he also was sentenced to a term of two years and eight months to four years for assault with a firearm for shooting at a third officer, and two years for the use of a firearm during commission of a felony. None of the other officers were hit in the shooting that followed Irons' death.

The Michigan Attorney General's office, which handled the prosecution, asked Kolenda to impose the maximum 25-to 40- year prison term in Michigan sentencing guidelines for assaults with intent to murder.

But Kolenda said he stepped outside the guidelines because of the seriousness of the crime, where it happened, public sentiment and Ratliff's position of trust in the community.

"These sentences must show that no one is above the law," Kolenda told the 21-year police veteran. "You're one of those few people who have the ability to overcome a natural abhorrence of taking a life."

The judge noted that Ratliff will be eligible for parole in 10 years but said, "Most people sentenced to life are never paroled."

Kolenda's office had been flooded with thousands of pieces of mail requesting the harshest penalty possible after Ratliff was convicted May 11. About 1,200 people rallied outside the courthouse on May 31 in support of a stiff sentence for Ratliff.

Before the sentencing, Kolenda allowed friends, family and coworkers of Irons to address the court.

Manu urged the maximum penalty for Ratliff because they said he seemed to show no remorse over the incident.

"He used his manliness to try and justify the most unmanly behavior," Irons' parents, James and Virginia Irons, said through Irons' attorney and friend, Diann Landers.

Ratliff contended he did not intend to kill Irons, but was drunk and angry about a property dispute in their divorce proceedings.

Defense attorney Grant Gruel said no decision has been made on an appeal.