ALBANY — New York’s highest court has upheld the maximum prison sentence for a man who rejected a plea bargain of a decade on probation if he admitted raping a neighbor’s child.
The Court of Appeals agrees with Antonio Martinez that judges shouldn’t be vindictive to defendants who exercise their right to trial, but concludes his 10-to-20 year sentence was lawful based on the heinousness of the crime, his lack of stated remorse and the victim’s statement at sentencing.
Martinez was convicted of molesting his neighbor’s six-year-old daughter multiple times in 1998 and 1999, which she told her mother in 2007.
The five-judge majority says another reason for the difference was a guilty plea would have protected the girl from testifying.
Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. disagreed, saying judges at minimum need to explain far tougher sentences.