Shock probation hearing for former JCPS teacher's DUI case held - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shock probation hearing for former JCPS teacher's DUI case held without victim's knowledge

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Former JCPS teachers Rachel Bouya Ahmed Limam was in court today asking for shock probation. (WDRB News photo) Former JCPS teachers Rachel Bouya Ahmed Limam was in court today asking for shock probation. (WDRB News photo)
Rachel Bouya Ahmed Limam in court on Jan. 11, 2017 Rachel Bouya Ahmed Limam in court on Jan. 11, 2017
Semple Elementary School principal Danielle Randle was among those to testify iabout Bouya Ahmed Limam's character. Semple Elementary School principal Danielle Randle was among those to testify iabout Bouya Ahmed Limam's character.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A judge has 10 days to decide whether or not to grant shock probation for a former Jefferson County Public Schools teacher convicted of driving drunk and causing an injury -- but the victim and her family weren't at Wednesday morning's hearing.

The victim, Amanda Doyle, says she wasn't told the hearing was happening today until she was contacted by a reporter from WDRB.

Rachel Bouya Ahmed Limam, 34, who was a teacher at Semple Elementary School at the time of the November 2015 incident, was sentenced to three years in prison in October. Her attorney, Leland Hulbert, filed a request for shock probation in December.

However, a spokesman for the Commonwealth's Attorney Office says that the victim's advocate didn't try to contact Doyle about the hearing until Wednesday morning.

Doyle said she received a phone call at 8:40 a.m., 20 minutes before the hearing took place.

"There is no question the victim's advocate was told, but didn’t contact the victim until today," said spokesman Jeff Cooke. "There is no question that the ball was dropped. It's unfortunate. We are going to notify the judge and ask the victim if she would like to submit an additional statement."

Officials say Bouya Ahmed Limam was drunk -- nearly three times the legal limit -- when she ran a stop light and crashed into Doyle's car just after midnight on Nov. 1, 2015.

During the hearing in front of Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Audra Eckerle, Bouya Ahmed Limam told the judge why she believes she should be let out of prison early.

"I have had a lot of time to let the reality of the situation and negative impact of what I did sink in," Bouya Ahmed Limam said. "I know a lot of people have been affected by what I did. I want to do whatever I can to make it right. I know only my actions have me here today."

Doyle, who has attended past hearings, says the crash left her with serious injuries. She told WDRB on Wednesday that she would have been at the shock probation hearing had she been told about it.

In a statement to WDRB, Mike Callaway, Doyle's father, asks the court to deny Bouya Ahmed Liman's shock probation request.

"We are deeply disappointed that Amanda's voice was not heard in Judge Eckerle's courtroom this morning," Callaway said in a written statement. "She was not notified by the prosecutor's office of today's hearing. Amanda has received lifelong injuries due to Rachel Bouya Ahmed Liman's reckless actions.  Now she has been silenced by the justice system and been dealt one more assault. Rachel plead guilty in order to lower the potential sentence. We would ask the court to deny shock probation and to serve the duration of her sentence."

Bouya Ahmed Limam said she was "truly sorry to the Doyle family, Ms. Amanda, for what I did to her. I deeply regret putting anyone’s life in danger."

"Jail has shocked me to the core. I am out of my element. So many freedoms that I probably took for granted, like hugging my daughter, making sure she gets to school OK, being with my family, being a positive role model for my students...have been taken away," she testified.

Bouya Ahmed Limam said she wants the opportunity to "prove that this is not -- this is just not who I am."

"It was a very bad choice," she said. "Part of me still can't believe that it happened."

During the hearing, Semple Elementary's principal Danielle Randle and one of the former teacher's co-workers spoke on her behalf.

"This is not who she is," Randle said. "As her supervisor and her principal who supports her...there has never been a time I doubted the positive impact she has on our students. Her absence has been a huge void in our building."

Eckerle told Randle: "You know she can't come back."

"I know," Randle said, saying that she wants "to do whatever it takes so that she stays on correct path, so she can still be a positive role model in our community."

Cooke said the Commonwealth Attorney's Office will ensure that Eckerle receives a new statement from Doyle before she considers the shock probation.

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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