Inmates Looking to Get Second Chance at Freedom Through Re-Sentencing in Criminal Justice Reform

Angelo Robinson was convicted of murdering Veronica Jackson in 1997. The murder was the product of a drug deal gone wrong. Robinson and Jackson were selling cocaine in an apartment complex when gang members stormed the complex, forcing Jackson in a back bedroom. Robinson was in that particular bedroom with the cocaine. Robinson assumed that Jackson was one of the armed gang members and he shot at her resulting in her death. He was 20 years old at the time of the incident.

Since then Robinson, now 42 years old, has obtained his GED, is taking Spanish lessons, earned his forklift license, and is playing the guitar. The American prison systems are the most overpopulated in the world. While there has been a recent push for nonviolent related convicted criminals to be released from prison early, no effort has been made for violent criminals early release. Half of the prisoners in the prison systems are convicted of violent crimes. The state of Ohio is attempting to change this so mass incarceration is decreased.

Second-Look Sentencing a Possibility in Ohio

David Singleton oversees the Ohio Justice and Policy Center. Singleton has started a program called, “Beyond Guilt.” His goal is to pass legislation so that prisoners convicted of violent crimes have the opportunity for early release. In addition, he wants to put in place a team of lawyers who can take on cases like Robinson’s. Other states have lobbied for “second-look sentencing.” Second-look sentencing means a judge could reassess a prisoner’s record and re-sentence the prisoner.

Last year, 18 “second-look sentencing” type bills were proposed in state legislatures. Zero were passed.

Singleton has filed a motion on behalf of Robinson for early release. Robinson stands by the fact that Jackson’s death was an unfortunate accident. Patricia Jackson, Veronica’s sister, has raised two of her sister’s children that were left behind. When she was approached about Robinson’s early release she was apprehensive and closed-off. Robinson had originally been offered a plea deal to manslaughter with a five year maximum prison sentence. He went to trial and was convicted of murder. The difference between manslaughter and murder was explained to Ms Jackson. Manslaughter does not involve premeditation where as murder does. After reflecting on it, Ms. Jackson agreed to support Robinson’s early release.

ArborYpsi Law Takeaways

There has recently been an uptick in releasing nonviolent criminals from our prison systems. These are most often criminals that have been convicted of drug crimes. Unfortunately, the United States over populated prison systems will not be solved by just releasing those convicted of nonviolent crimes. We need to start looking at early release for prisoners convicted of violent crimes who have served ample time and have taken actions to redeem themselves. This would be a step in the right direction for criminal justice reform.

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Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is a criminal defense lawyer in Washtenaw County. He has represented clients in Oakland, Wayne, Livingston, Lenawee, and Jackson County.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 2750 Carpenter Rd #2 Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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If you have been charged with a felony contact ArborYpsi Law. At ArborYpsi Law we specialize in criminal defense. We are not focused on whether or not the client is innocent, but on getting the charges dismissed. ArborYpsi Law is no-judgment zone. Sam Bernstein is a criminal defense lawyer that represents clients charged with DWI’s, DUI, traffic tickets, divorce, domestic violence, sex crimes, drug charges, expungements, assault and battery, retail fraud, and home invasion.

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