"Outrage" over judge's decision to let offender spend extra time - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

"Outrage" over judge's decision to let offender spend extra time at home

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Members of a court watchdog group based in Grier Heights are upset after a Mecklenburg County judge allowed a habitual felon to spend an extra month with his family before heading to jail.

Travis Feaster, 36, pleaded guilty on April 23 to selling drugs to undercover police officers near Billingsville Elementary School. His criminal arrest record dates back to 1993. Feaster had already been home since making bond at the end of December.

Judge Hugh Lewis, Feaster's attorney, and an assistant district attorney, discussed a deal that if Feaster pleaded guilty, he would serve 5 to 8 years behind bars. According to court documents, all parties agreed to the plea deal.

Judge Lewis said Feaster would not have to come back to court until May 19, when he would be officially sentenced and sent to prison.

Marcus Philemon is the founder of CharMeck CourtWatch, a group that tracks repeat offenders. He tells WBTV that he's "outraged" by Lewis' decision.

"He's [Feaster] a habitual felon. He's a nuisance to the community. He's an expense to the taxpayer every time that he's processed," Philemon said.

Philemon lives in Grier Heights, and says he's kept his eye on Feaster for months.

 "He's been out [on bond] since January so why should he receive an extra month, after accepting a plea deal?" Philemon said.

Since he bonded out, Feaster hasn't had any run-ins with police, but Philemon says that's not the point. Philemon says Feaster knew of his sentence on April 23 and says he should not have an extra month before heading to prison. He says Lewis' decision sets a bad example.

"I'm not willing to surrender where I live because of a criminal element likes to do business in a certain radius of where I reside," Philemon said.

WBTV spoke to Judge Hugh Lewis on the phone. He confirmed the information in this story but wouldn't comment any further about why he's allowing Feaster to have an extra month before being sentenced.

WBTV also spoke to Feaster's attorney and he told us his client is spending time with his family, and working to leave them with some money before he goes away to prison.

The Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office would not specifically comment on the case, citing an active case. For more information about CharMeck CourtWatch, click here.

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