Your past can definitely haunt your present when you’re standing in a court room in front of a judge, asking for leniency after being convicted of a crime.
That’s the unfortunate reality for a young Gen Burnie man who was recently convicted of the first-degree murder of another man whom he shot in the back. First-degree murder is often referred to as “premeditated murder,” meaning that the murder was planned in advance. It’s generally considered the most severe charge involving the death of another that can be leveled against a defendant.
Consequently, possible first-degree murder penalties are also severe. Convicted defendants often make a last-ditch effort to get some form of leniency before sentencing by presenting mitigating factors that might sway the judge into at least allowing them a chance at parole or any sentence other than life imprisonment.
In this case, the defendant sought to sway the judge by discussing his childhood in a broken home where he was raised by his single mother and his hopes for a relationship with his own infant daughter. His mother also testified on his behalf, claiming that his actions the night of the murder weren’t in his nature.
The prosecution, however, also gets a chance to sway the judge the opposite direction by presenting any aggravating factors that show that the defendant isn’t worthy of leniency.
For example, the prosecution in this case presented the judge with graphic testimony about the defendant’s previous acts — which include a lengthy list of crimes going back to his youth, most of which involved some form of violent behavior. There was even an incident just two years before where a verbal exchange with his girlfriend prompted him to punch her and put a gun to her head.
While the defendant’s attorney asked the judge to consider a sentence of 50 years with the possibility of parole, the defendant’s past behavior ultimately convinced the judge to hand down the harsher punishment.
It’s always important to consider how your past criminal acts can affect your trial or your sentence if you are convicted. If you’ve been charged with any sort of violent crime, that’s a significant factor you should discuss early with your attorney so that you can plan the best possible defense strategy.
Source: Capital Gazette, “Glen Burnie man gets life without parole in Meade Village homicide,” Phil Davis, July 03, 2017
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