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Can a judge amend his sentence if the felon writes a letter with more case detail than his lawyer presented at sentencing?

Mystic, CT |

My brother signed a plea bargain for a max two year sentence for assault, and 2 counts of violation of a restraining order. My brothers attorney did NOT present all facts and pertinent details at the sentencing, and we believe a video shown had been "altered" by the plaintiffs side and NOBODY will give us this video that only the Judge could see during the sentencing hearing. If we hire a new attorney or write to the the Judge explaining what we believe has happened, as well as provide additional facts, can the Judge change/amend his sentencing (18 months instead of the 2 year plea bargain maximum)? Thank you so much...I don't know where else to turn, or if its even worth pursuing as he has already started his sentence last week. This is also a first offense for a 55 year old male.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I agree, the short answer is yes, a modification can be requested. C.G.S. 53a-39 (a) provides that at any time during the period of a definite sentence of three years or less, the sentencing court or judge may, after hearing and for good cause shown, reduce the sentence, order the defendant discharged, or order the defendant discharged on probation or conditional discharge. Section (c) of that same statute states that a mandatory minimum sentence cannot be reduced in any manner.

So, if your brother was convicted of a crime in which a mandatory minimum sentence was imposed, the court has no ability to modify the sentence. Other than that, the original sentencing judge has the statutory authority to modify the sentence. However, counsel is also correct, a modification is exceedingly rare.

As for presenting evidence that the video was altered, I strongly recommend you first consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before that claim is made. Without knowing more about what video and what alleged alteration, that kind of allegation can have some impacts that may not help your brother. This is particularly the case since you don't even know what is on the video (since the judge was the only one who saw the video).

As for whether your brother's attorney did not present all of the facts, that is impossible to gauge with the information supplied. Sometimes there are good tactical and strategic reasons for presenting some facts but not other evidence.

Brian S. Karpe, Esq. (860) 242-2221 Note: This response DOES NOT constitute legal advice and therefore no specific action should be taken in reliance thereon. No attorney-client relationship is created through this response. You should speak to an licensed attorney in your state who is competent to answer your question before taking any action with regard to this question.

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Posted

Dear ?,

Writing letters to the judge is a waste of time. Your brother needs counsel with experience in sentence modification who can move to modify the sentence, assuming there are proper legal grounds for it and that the time limit has not expired. You can start looking for such counsel right here on Avvo.

Yours sincerely,
Tim Provis
Cal. Bar No., 104800
Wis. Bar No. 1020123
Member: U.S. Supreme Court Bar

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Posted

Sentences can be modified, but there is a procedure for requesting a hearing on it that really requires an attorney with sentence modification experience to navigate. The short answer is yes, it can be modified, however given the rate at which the DOC is letting prisoners out on early release in this state, it may not be worth it to you, since its a long shot anyway.

This is general advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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