A Las Vegas Judge has turned back a request for re-sentencing in a case which began twenty-years ago.
Judge Douglas Smith polished his decision from the previous week in a special order which spelled out the facts by Jeremy Strohmeyer’s crime — as well as the killers racist comments to friends, a confession to law enforcement and a laptop filled with child porn.
Smith pointed to Strohmeyer’s 1998 plea deal before addressing a psychologist’s testimony that persons in late-stage adolescence — those between 18 and 20 — do not have the emotional, or intellectual, maturity of adults.
In 2016, the American Supreme court ruled juveniles who received life sentences for killing a single person should have a shot at parole.
The May hearing in Las Vegas, Laurence Steinberg, a professor specializing in adolescent development told the judge “young people are more impetuous and impulsive” than adults.
Strohmeyer was 18-years and 7-months old when he strangled Sherrice Iverson and broke her neck in May 1997 inside Primadona Resort and Casino.
Strohmeyer pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty. Strohmeyer was sentenced to life behind bars and no possibility of parole.
For twenty-years, Strohmeyer has said his attorneys pressured him into the deal.
The judge’s order says, “Strohmeyer’s actions were not the result of impulsive adolescent behavior, but instead the result of preexisting motives and well thought fantasies.”
Strohmeyer’s lawyer, Tom Pitaro, plans to appeal Smith’s decision to the Nevada Supreme Court.
If strohmeyer is granted his request for revised sentencing, he could, theoretically, be given parole. Prosecutors have stated if Strohmeyer gets his hearing, they will seek the death penalty.
“Jeremy Strohmeyer committed one of the most infamous crimes in Nevada history and he should spend the rest of his life in prison,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo.
There Is A Precedent For Going From Death Row To Life In Prison With The Possibility Of Parole
In August 2017, a convicted murderer who had lived on death row for over three-decades was re sentenced to life in prison without parole.
John Valerio was resentenced in Clark County, where he told a jury he changed while behind bars. Valerio, 52, was twenty-two when he was convicted for the 1986 murder of Karen Sue Blackwell.
Valerio’s lawyer, Tom Pitaro, pleaded to the jury for mercy and to consider if a person may be redeemed, reformed and changed given enough time.
Re-sentencing Is Possible — Within Guidelines Written By SCOTUS
Despite each state having slight variations on re sentencing laws, all are required to follow the U.S. Spreme Court’s rulings.
In Peugh v United States, SCOTUS ruled federal criminal defendants must be sentenced under the guidelines in effect when the crime took place, not higher guidelines in place when the defendant is sentenced.
Justice Sotomayor, in writing the majority opinion for the high court, rejected the argument that sentencing guidelines are advisory and don’t’ have the effect of increasing sentences later. She explained the district courts are required to use the sentencing guidelines as a starting point when they resentence a defendant.
Anyone who may be facing re-sentencing should not try to go through the process alone. An experienced, criminal defense attorney should be consulted.