Your nephew is not telling you the whole picture. No one can go to court and have a sentence reduced to 35%. What can happen is that someone can, while the case is pending and before a sentence is imposed, plea bargain to allow a plea to a charge that has a lower maximum term. The Department of Corrections decides when a person will be released, based on the occupancy of the prison. However, is someone is convicted for a crime that carries with it an 85% minimum sentence, no judge can then undercut the penal code and reduce the sentence to 35%. Likewise, if the conviction is one for which the person is eligible to earn two-for-one credits, meaning he will serve a maximum of 50% of the time, the jail or prison can release the person before they serve the 50% maximum time, sometimes even before 35% is reached. The judge, however, has no role in making the release date decision.