Under the State and Federal constitutions, criminal defendants are afforded numerous rights that protect them at each stage of a criminal proceeding. The rights do not end merely because a defendant is convicted of a crime either, but protect defendants from unjust sentences as well. The Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston, recently analyzed what constitutes an unjust sentence in a case in which the defendant was sentenced to thirty-five years imprisonment for engaging in organized criminal activity. If you live in Texas and are charged with a criminal offense, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted Texas criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.
Background of the Case
It is reported that the defendant was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. Specifically, the defendant conspired with seven other individuals to commit armed robbery and theft of property with a total value exceeding $150,000.00. There was evidence presented at trial that the defendant, along with his co-defendants, planned to steal four trucks and sell them in Mexico. The defendant pleaded guilty to the charged offense, after which he was sentenced to thirty-five years imprisonment. The defendant subsequently appealed, arguing, in part, that his sentence was unconstitutional.
Protections Under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution
The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from unusual or cruel punishment, which includes the preclusion of sentences that are clearly disproportionate to the offense committed. In the subject case, the court noted that the defendant failed to preserve his right to raise the issue on appeal by objecting at trial.