Choosing between a life sentence and 50 years in prison
I’m James Wirth, a lawyer in Oklahoma. Defendants facing serious charges may have the option of choosing between life imprisonment or a set number of years in the penitentiary. But which option is the best? This was recently explored in a real-life case decided by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, where a defendant was convicted and the jury recommended a punishment of 50 years. However, the judge ultimately sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment because, for the purposes of determining parole, a life sentence is considered to be only 45 years.
Appealing a Sentence: Choosing Between Life and 50 Years
The defendant, in this case, had to decide whether to appeal the ruling and request the 50-year sentence instead. While a life sentence may be viewed as more favorable for eligibility for parole, due to the 45-year definition, a 50-year sentence could result in an earlier release, assuming all attempts at parole are denied. Ultimately, the defendant in this case chose to appeal for the 50-year sentence instead.
The Complexity of Defining Life Sentences in Oklahoma
This case brings up the complex issue of how life sentences are defined and assigned in the state of Oklahoma. While a jury may recommend a sentence of any length, a life sentence is treated much more harshly than a set number of years due to the definition of 45 years for parole purposes. However, judges are not limited to this definition and can sentence a defendant to a true life sentence, as was the case in this situation.
Get Help with Your Criminal Case in Oklahoma
If you’re facing a criminal case in Oklahoma and have questions about your options, it’s important to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma who can provide guidance and support. Schedule a private and confidential consultation at makelaweasy.com to discuss your case and determine the best course of action.