U.S. Supreme Court Vacates Woman’s Life Sentence For Shoplifting

New Hampshire Shoplifting Lawyer.  In March of 2009 Cecilia Cathleen Rodriguez pleaded guilty to stealing two purses from a Dillard’s store in Oklahoma.  On her guilty plea an Oklahoma district court judge sentenced her to life in prison.  The judge added an extra 17 years to the life sentence for a probation violation on another, 9 year old, petty theft case.  So the total sentence she got for stealing the two purses was life plus 17 years. 

She appealed her sentence in the state appellate court system, and a sharply divided Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the extraordinary sentence.  One of the two judges who dissented described her sentence as “shockingly excessive”. The other described Ms. Gonzalez as a “drug addict who steals to feed her addiction…”While she is a nuisance and a lawbreaker she is neither a violent criminal nor an imminent danger to society.”  The dissenting appeals court judge described her life sentence as ” …a miscarriage of justice.”    

On March 21, 2012, the Supreme Court issued its landmark opinion in Missouri v. Frye, (Supreme Court case number 10-444), which held that a defendant in a criminal case is entitled to the effective assistance of counsel during plea negotiation, including plea offers extended by the prosecution.  So if defense counsel’s deficient performance led to the rejection of a plea offer, and the defendant can show there would have been a reasonable probability that she would have accepted the plea offer but for counsel’s deficient performance, there would lie a sufficient showing of prejudice to vacate the sentence imposed.

In the Oklahoma life sentence plus 17 years for stealing two purses case, the Supreme Court vacated Ms. Rodriguez’s life sentence for shoplifting and remanded the case to the Oklahoma courts for re sentencing.

Have you been arrested for shoplifting in New Hampshire?  Call me today for a free case consultation:  New Hampshire shoplifting defense lawyer Mark Stevens 1-603-893-0074.  I look forward to speaking with you.

Mark Stevens
Salem, New Hampshire

Busted for shoplifting in New Hampshire?  Call 1-603-893-0074 for a free shoplifting consultation today!

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