isnt it illegal for the court to agree to a plea agreement and then later go back on its word. because of an illegal sentence?

Defendant pled guilty to poss of weapon 3/12 yrs. At sentencing court states that it couldn’t grant sentence because it was illegal to do so due to the fact that defendant had a prior conviction for weapon poss.

Asked on January 18, 2018 under Criminal Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, it's not illegal, though admittedly it seems like it should be:
1) The judge, not the prosecutor, determines sentencing; the judge usually follows prosecutor recommendations but is not required to and the prosecutor cannot "bind" the judge. This is always a risk in pleaing: while the judge cannot change the offense you pled to, he does not have to give any agreed-upon sentence.
2) The judge must follow the law, such as sentences laid out in the criminal code; he cannot give less (or more) than the law allows given this offense and also any prior offenses that increase the sentence.

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