CAL in Action

Supreme Court halves CAL client's 16-year-to-life sentence and eliminates lifetime parole


After a jury trial, Mr. G was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Because the court concluded that Mr. G had two prior violent felony convictions, it sentenced him as a persistent violent felony offender to a 16-year-to-life prison term. On appeal, CAL argued, among other things, that the sentencing was improper, because one of the prior convictions resulted from an unknowing guilty plea. When Mr. G pleaded guilty to the prior offense, he was not told that his sentence included a term of post-release supervision. AD1 remanded the matter for supreme court to consider Mr. G’s sentencing claim. Thereafter, supreme court agreed, finding that one of Mr. G’s prior convictions was unknowing and unconstitutional, and could not be used to enhance the sentence. The court then held a resentencing proceeding. Confronted with significant mitigating facts, the court sentenced Mr. G to an eight-year prison term, rendering him eligible for release within ten months. CAL attorney John Palmer represented Mr. G throughout the proceedings.