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Man argues prison sentence is too light

Nov. 9, 2011 at 12:36 PM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- An Illinois man who pleaded guilty to murder has won a new trial by arguing that his 30-year prison sentence was too lenient.

Benny Deanda Jr.'s unusual legal argument in an appeal for a new trial is rare, but Deanda's court-appointed attorney Levi Harris said Deanda wanted another trial so he could put on a self-defense case for the 2001 slaying, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

"Ninety-nine out of 100 times, it would be inadvisable to do it," Harris, an assistant defender with the state appellate defender's office, told the Chicago Tribune Wednesday. "Here, he wanted another shot (at a trial)."

Deanda, 26, pleaded guilty during trial to the 2001 murder of Mario Jiminez, 16, in exchange for 30 years in prison.

The least amount of time he should have received by law was 35 years in prison, a fact Deanda used in his appeal for a new trial.

Deanda now faces up to life in prison if he's found guilty at trial and is aware his sentence could more than double, Harris said.

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