For most people, getting a sentence vacated is possible only after filing an appeal and having the appeals court determine that the sentence levied for conviction was inappropriate. For one Tulsa man, however, the process was much easier. Learn more about appeals here.
Judge Changes His Mind
After spending the weekend thinking about it, a Tulsa County District Judge decided the sentence he handed down to a sex offender made him uncomfortable. He vacated his own sentence just four days after initially sentencing the man.
Ronald Jay Green II, 24, was sentenced to two years in prison followed by eight years of probation after pleading guilty to forcible oral sodomy. Green, a former DHS worker, was accused of allowing a 15-year-old girl in foster care to perform oral sex on him while he drove her to visit her mother. The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16, but even if the girl had been of age, state law forbids sex between employees of state agencies and anyone in custody of that agency. This includes teachers and students, Department of Corrections employees and inmates, and DHS workers and wards of the state.
In Green's case, he was transporting the girl while in official capacity as a DHS worker. DHS policies require two or more workers to transport a minor, but for some reason, Green was allowed to transport the girl alone. He says that the girl offered to perform oral sex on him, and although he initially declined, he "gave into this terrible act."
The incident occurred in 2010, and the girl reported it nearly a year later. She told authorities that Green did not force her to do anything, and that she had been flirting with him. Regardless of consent, however, the act was against the law due to the girl's age and custodial status.
Green was charged in January 2012. He pleaded guilty and was initially sentenced on May 31 of this year. Just a few days later, on June 3, Tulsa County District Judge James Caputo vacated the sentence, instead giving Green a 10 year deferred sentence.
First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond, who prosecuted the case, says that the law does not allow deferred sentencing in this type of sex-related case, and that the new sentence is illegal. A pre-sentencing report indicates that Green "appears to be a suitable candidate for probation," but it recommends against deferred sentencing.
A deferred sentence occurs when a defendant pleads guilty, but is not immediately convicted. In these cases, a judge defers, or suspends, judgement until the defendant completes his or her deferred sentence. If the defendant successfully complies with the terms of his probation, upon completion of the sentence, the plea is changed to "not guilty" and the case is dismissed. If a defendant violates the terms of his or her sentence, the deferment may be revoked and the defendant convicted and sent to jail or prison as appropriate.
Deferred sentencing can be a great option to keep a defendant out of jail, particularly when he or she is a first offender not likely to re-offend. If you are arrested or charged with a crime, an Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer can help you understand likely outcomes to your case and can offer assertive representation for the best possible result. View our site to find out more or to submit a confidential case review form.