People in Pennsylvania who find themselves arrested for serious felony crimes must always try to remember that the criminal justice process offers them opportunities for a fair defense. This includes appeals that can be made even after a trial is complete and a sentence has been handed down. For some defendants, this can offer the opportunity for a new sentence or even a new trial.
One man who was a former resident of Bethlehem was convicted of the murder of another man from an incident that occurred three years ago. The original trial ended with him being sentenced on different charges. One sentence was for a charge of first degree murder. Two other sentences were for weapons charges. In all, the man was to serve a minimum of 51 years in prison, with a potential of spending the rest of his life incarcerated.
A ruling handed down by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, however, has potentially changed that. One of the weapons charges for which the man was convicted will now be changed. Instead of being considered a felony, the judge ordered it to be considered a misdemeanor. That will change the sentencing for the crime. Because the three sentences were to happen consecutively, the defendant will get all new sentences for the other charges as well.
While it is never known how a trial or an appeal will work out for a defendant, it may be helpful to work with an attorney during the process. The complicated nature of criminal cases may be better explained to defendants by a trusted defense attorney.
Source: The Morning Call, “Teen killer to get new sentence on weapons offense,” Peter Hall, April 12, 2015