Judge Denies Sentence Reduction For Man Who Drove Over Boy
A man serving a nine-to-10 year prison term for aggravated assault and battery will not have his sentence reduced, a judge ruled Friday.
Lawrence Martinez was sentenced on Feb. 11, 2014, for driving drunk and running over an 11-year-old boy on Copper Street in Evansville the previous August.
Martinez, who is in his mid-40s, had entered an Alford Plea -- not a direct admission of guilt but an acknowledgement prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him at trial -- and as a part of the plea prosecutors would not charge him with being a habitual criminal. He had four prior felony convictions.
Martinez filed a motion for a sentence reduction within a year of sentencing, and the court denied it.
He again, through his attorney Tom Sutherland, filed a motion to reduce the sentence to six-to-eight years.
Friday, Sutherland told Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins that Martinez committed a heinous crime, but he is doing everything possible to make sure he never drinks again.
Martinez needs the sentence reduction to participate in an intensive substance abuse treatment program, otherwise he will be discharged without any help, Sutherland said.
He has shown great remorse, writing in a letter "how I have hurt others is beyond comprehension," Sutherland said. Martinez also wrote he is being "held hostage" by his addiction, he added.
He has been a model inmate, has strong support from his friends and family, and has a job waiting for him when he gets out, Sutherland said.
Sullins, however, said the statute of limitations for a motion for sentence reduction is one year of the sentencing and a previous motion had been denied.
Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen also argued that point.
Itzen called the motion manipulative because Martinez is implying with the "being held hostage" argument that he won't get treatment if he serves the full sentence. Martinez had multiple felonies and alcohol-related crimes, and didn't seek help then.
The incident in August 2013 sent the boy to a Denver hospital where he was in a coma for five days, and had extensive surgery, Itzen said.
Sullins said the court can recommend to the Department of Corrections, but cannot order the intensive treatment.
The law doesn't allow filing a motion a year after sentencing and aggravating circumstances of the crime warrant keeping Martinez in prison, the judge said.