Wednesday, March 16, 2005

UPDATE: Today I had the sentencing hearing for my client convicted of attempted murder following February's bench trial. His sentence range was 6-30 years in prison, no chance for probation. He'll do 85% of the time.

The State asked for 30 years arguing that he was basically lucky the victim didn't die. That I agree with. No doubt the shooter was lucky when he shoots point blank at a guy sitting in a car hitting him twice in the chest but missing the heart and major arteries. But it's not my job to agree with the State so...

I told the judge that my guy was 29, hadn't been in any trouble in 10 years but was laying low and taking care of his 8 year old and the baby's momma. He was working out of his home cutting hair. I side stepped the State's argument but noting that since we still don't think he was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt I wasn't going to talk about what someone else did at the crime scene.

The client was asked if he wanted to say anything, but wisely he did not. This Judge actually likes to hear from the defendant that he is sorry, ask for forgiveness, etc. But, since my client's best issue on appeal is "reasonable doubt" (that is: arguing that the evidence doesn't support the conviction) it's tough for him to say he's sorry for shooting the guy then turn around and maintain he didn't shoot the guy. My sidestep of the issue signaled the judge that my client wouldn't be making such a statement.

I asked for the low end of the range. No way the guy was getting in the 6-10 range. The Class X range of 6-30 covers Armed Robbery, Attempted Murder and Possession of a Controlled Substance within 1000' of a school. It's the last guy who'll get 6, not a guy who rapes or tries to kill someone.

The guy immediately before my client was before the bench on a Motion to Reconsider his sentence. He got 140 for murder and robbery with some enhancements for using a gun. Nice...at first I was going to be happy with 17-20 years, then I started panicking. Then when I heard the State (a very nice guy who I get along with well) ask for 30 I practically crapped myself. Oh great, I said, the State knows the Judge better and my guy is thinking he'll get less than 10...I told he'd get around 15..and now he's going to get 30.

But, in the end the Judge gave him 12 years. The old First Chair in the courtroom complimented me on the way out and seemed a bit surprised.

Client wanted less but didn't seem to unhappy. I'm still a bit impressed. 12 years for putting two rounds into a guy's check...point blank. 12 years. Not bad.