State v. Stewart
An individual who is convicted of committing first-degree burglary can be sentenced to 20 years in prison. The state charged the petitioner, Graham Stewart, with allegedly entering a window in his former girlfriend's apartment and strangling the former girlfriend, until she lost consciousness. The victim's child, 4, allegedly observed the assault. A jury convicted the petitioner on charges of burglary, assault, unlawful restraint, strangling and risk of injury to a minor. The petitioner's maximum exposure was 37 years in prison. Judge Thomas O'Keefe sentenced the petitioner to 20 years, execution suspended after nine years. The petitioner's attorney, Tashun Bowden-Lewis, argued that 20 years was inappropriate and disproportionate, because the petitioner has a minimal criminal record. The state's attorney, Eva Lenczewski, objected that the petitioner allegedly was drunk and that he previously had assaulted the victim. The Sentence Review Division considered whether the sentence was inappropriate or disproportionate, considering the nature of the offense, the character of the offender, the protection of the public interest, and the deterrent, rehabilitative, isolative and denunciatory purposes of sentencing. The Sentence Review Division characterized the incident as a "serious domestic violence event" that took place in front of the victim's 4-year-old child. The sentence was not inappropriate or disproportionate, and the Sentence Review Division affirmed.