How Can I Get a Court to Correct a Sentencing Error?

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My boyfriend was sentenced to eight years in prison, and a few days after being sentenced the judge reduced the time to five years. This was never changed in the system, he has been in for four years now and we have tried motions and writing the judge. None of this has worked the state attorney has not helped either. We have the case papers where it says sentence to be amended on count 3, which is the eight year charge. And a response from the judge’s secretary that says it was already reduced, that he was originally sentenced to thirteen years and reduced by five to make eight. But that is all wrong he was never sentenced to 13 years. Though the math is wrong this letter does show that a reduction was supposed to occur in his sentence.  What can we do to get this corrected? Thank you for all your help.

There could be a couple of things going on here. It could be that your boyfriend was sentenced to consecutive sentences, rather than concurrent sentences. This would mean that one sentence wouldn’t start until the other has ended. So even though the highest sentence he got was eight years, if he had another five year sentence to be served consecutively, it would total thirteen years. This would mean that the court is correct, and his sentence has already been reduced as ordered.

It is also possible that the court has made a clerical error in entering the original sentence and that’s where the problem is occurring. It sounds like you’ve done all that you can at the trial level to address the situation. You should confer with a criminal law attorney, preferably one who specializes in appeals. This attorney can look at your boyfriend’s entire record and determine if there are any other options at the trial level, or if there is grounds for an appeal to a higher court. If your boyfriend is indigent (i.e. doesn’t have any money), he may be able to request a public defender for this purpose. You can contact the court to see what the process is for making this request.