Recently, the criminal defense team at Ianniello Anderson, P.C. had a client’s remaining sentence cut in half stemming from a Manslaughter in the First Degree conviction. In early 2021, our team brought an application for re-sentencing under the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA).
This new law, enacted in 2019, permits victims of domestic violence who were convicted of serious crimes to bring an application to have their sentence reduced. The law requires the defendant to be serving a term of incarceration in excess of eight years, and at the time of the offense, they must have been the victim of substantial domestic violence that was a significant contributing factor in their criminal behavior. The law was enacted to provide victims of domestic violence alternatives to lengthy prison sentences where their crimes were committed as a result of the abuse they were suffering.
We became involved in our client’s case in January, and through our investigation, we were able to subpoena 100s of police records, hospital records, sworn statements, and employ the services of a forensic psychologist to provide the Judge with a complete picture of the abuse our client suffered, and how that abuse contributed to her criminal behavior. This case went through three different judges and two different prosecuting agencies. After extensive motion practice and conferences with all the parties, an agreement was reached that shaved many years off our client’s remaining sentence. While we are happy and relieved for our client, this case was a somber reminder that far too many people are the victims of domestic violence. For anyone that needs it, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TheHotline.org.