State v. Smith
An individual who is convicted of felony murder can be sentenced to 25 to 60 years in prison. The government charged the petitioner, Jeffrey Smith, with allegedly helping co-defendants to rob the victim of a few dollars and a wristwatch and then beating the victim to death. A jury convicted the petitioner of first-degree manslaughter, felony murder, kidnapping and robbery. Judge Stuart Schimelman sentenced the petitioner to 85 years in prison. The petitioner's attorney, Matthew Berger, requested a sentence reduction and argued that his client did not inflict the death blow and that the the 85-year sentence was inappropriate and disproportionate. State's Attorney Peter McShane objected that co-defendants also were sentenced to 85 years and that the sentence was appropriate. The victim's mother asked the Sentence Review Division not to reduce the sentence. The sentencing court considered the petitioner's background, the nature of the offense and the motive. The sentence was not inappropriate or disproportionate, and the Sentence Review Division affirmed.