Pro Bono Client Wins Sentence Reduction

November 7, 2007

Cleary Gottlieb won a substantial sentence reduction for pro bono client C.M. in his resentencing application before the New York Supreme Court, Criminal Term.

The Drug Law Reform Act of 2005 permits certain inmates serving indeterminate sentences under the old Rockefeller drug laws to apply for a determinate sentence. C.M. was serving a sentence of eight years to life for a controlled substance conviction. Cleary Gottlieb argued that C.M. should be resentenced to the minimum of six years because of C.M.’s extraordinary rehabilitative efforts during his incarceration, including acting as an AIDS counselor to fellow inmates. The Special Narcotics Bureau of the New York County District Attorney’s Office argued that, because of his prior criminal history, C.M. should be resentenced to a determinate sentence of eight years.

Judge A. Kirke Bartley’s decision, issued at a November 7 hearing, substantially adopted Cleary Gottlieb’s arguments, holding that there was “little doubt that [C.M.] has been unusually productive during his incarceration” and resentenced C.M. to a six-and-a-half year determinate sentence. The new sentence means that C.M. no longer faces life imprisonment and with merit time could be released as early as October 2008.