Joran van der Sloot sentenced to 28 years for the brutal death of a young woman. It doesn’t seem like much time. It really doesn’t seem like much time considering the fact that he will be eligible for parole in 9 years. Sounds like his Peruvian criminal defense attorney earned his money.
Many people have the mistaken belief that Arizona’s system is similar to Peru’s. It isn’t. First of all, if van der Sloot was charged in Maricopa County, Arizona, he would probably not have gotten a plea offer where he could have asked for less than 28 years.
In fact, it would be common for the prosecution here to seek life in prison. In Mr. van der Sloot’s case, the State would probably dangle the possibility of seeking the death penalty. In the instant case, however, most criminal defense attorneys would agree that death would be unlikely due to the fact that a plausible argument could be made that there was no premeditation.
However, if a real argument could be made that the murder was really a premeditated plot to steal money from the victim, then the State would seek the death penalty. In situations like that in Arizona, it would be quite doubtful that a plea offer of 28 years would ever be extended.
Furthermore, and probably more important, there is no way to cut the sentence of a violent crime by more than 50% in Arizona. People sentenced to prison at best get a 15% reduction in their sentence. In this case, van der sloot could easily have gotten life in prison with no possibility of parole.
So, to all of the people out there who think that this sentence is unfair and too lenient, I can’t really argue with you. This gentleman is clearly on the sociopath scale. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the sentence is a symbol of what happens here in Arizona. You can rest assured that no such deal would be cut for this guy by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Ever.
Criminal defense attorney Nick Alcock is the owner of Alcock & Associates law firm. His office is in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached at 602-989-5000. Click on https://www.alcocklaw.com/CRIMINAL/ for more information.
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