While the need for a vigorous criminal defense during a trial of pending charges is obvious, there are also many other stages during criminal proceedings when effective counsel is necessary. Whether an individual is merely under suspicion of committing a crime or has been convicted and is hoping to overturn a negative result, an effective criminal defense strategy is crucial. A recent post-conviction application by a man serving a 15 year prison term in Colorado underscores the fact that legal issues often remain long after the ink is dry on a judge's sentencing order.
The now convicted man was involved in a motor vehicle accident in July 2012 at about 4 a.m. Colorado investigators asserted that the man was drunk when he drove in the wrong direction on the Diagonal Highway. He collided with a compact Toyota, causing injury to the male driver and a female passenger. The man is said to have admitted to drinking, and a blood alcohol test some two hours after the crash documented that he was substantially beyond the permissible limit for drinking and driving.
After a plea negotiation, the Texas resident agreed to plead guilty to four felonies and three misdemeanors in exchange for a promise of no more than 15 years in prison. After receiving that sentence, the male victim from the underlying car accident passed away. Since the negotiated plea bargain had been accepted by prosecutors, a charge for vehicular homicide was no longer allowed. In May, the man filed a motion for a sentence reduction, though the specific reasons for the request were not detailed in a news report. Another judge in the same District Court as the sentencing judge recently denied the application, ruling that the original sentence was reasonable.
It is not known if the man will seek an appeal of the latest court decision to a higher court. Nevertheless, it is a tenet of criminal defense that all individuals are to be treated fairly and impartially in the Colorado criminal justice system. While he has not as yet been successful, the convicted man has the right to pursue beneficial remedies based upon recognized legal principles.
Source: Colorado Daily, "Boulder judge: No sentence reduction for driver in wrong-way DUI crash on Diagonal," Mitchell Byars, June 10, 2013