In Commonwealth v. Tejada, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the allowance of the defendant’s motion to revise and revoke his sentence under Mass. R. Crim. P. 29(a)(2), “based upon the disparity between the defendant’s sentence and a coventurer’s sentence subsequently imposed by a different judge.”
The background was as follows. The defendant was convicted of armed robbery and related offenses, “stem[ming] from his involvement in the robbery of a man from whom the defendant and two friends had arranged to buy marijuana.” At the scene of the crime, “[t]he defendant remained in the [perpetrators’] vehicle while his two coventurers [Pichardo and Etienne] entered a residence with the intention of obtaining the marijuana through a ruse, rather than through payment…. Their robbery led to a gun fight, during which Pichardo was shot and killed…. [T]he defendant received a State prison sentence of from six to eight years on the armed robbery count. After a separate trial before a different judge …, Etienne received a State prison term of from five to seven years for armed robbery. The defendant subsequently filed a motion to revise and revoke based on the disparity between those sentences. The judge agreed with the defendant and reduced his sentence to match the sentence of Etienne. The Commonwealth appealed, and … the Appeals Court reversed, concluding … that the judge’s decision was improperly based on an event that occurred after the defendant had already been sentenced…. [The SJC] allowed the defendant’s application for further appellate review.”
In its decision, the SJC stated, “Although generally motions to revise and revoke sentences must be based on facts as they existed at the time of sentencing, today we recognize a limited exception that allows judges to consider a coventurer’s sentence for the same crime even if imposed subsequent to the defendant’s sentence where it is reasonably apparent that the defendant was less or equally culpable than his subsequently-sentenced coventurer. Because we conclude that the circumstances of this case fit that narrow exception, we affirm the decision of the judge to grant the defendant’s motion to revise and revoke his sentence to match that of his coventurer.”
If you or a loved one has been charged criminally and is facing the possibility of sentencing, it is crucial that you have a skilled and experienced attorney who is up to date on all the relevant case law and who can obtain the best possible outcome for you. Attorney Daniel Cappetta is well versed in the law and has been making cogent and successful arguments on behalf of his clients for many years. Call him today for a free consultation.